School snack lines

Recent news stories write of the unpopular status of healthy foods in the competitive foods world of the school yard. In vending machines, school stores and cafeterias, healthy foods are squeezed out in favor of candies, soda, sweet baked goods, and salty snacks. Reported in a Wednesday AP story, Congress has reacted:
"Would anyone advocate that we take the fences off the playground for elementary schools and just let kids run around in the streets?" Harkin, D-Iowa, said. "By the same token, why would we allow schools to sort of poison our kids with junk food?"
Sen. Tom Harkin, who requested a Government Accountability Office (GAO) study of the issue, and other lawmakers seek nutrition standards for food throughout schools, including vending machines and stores.

According to the GAO report, "the availability of competitive foods sold in middle schools and through a la carte lines has increased over the last 5 years. Schools often sold these foods in or near the cafeteria and during lunch."

School Meal Programs: Competitive Foods Are Widely Available and Generate Substantial Revenues for Schools GAO-05-563
(available in PDF, 968 KB, from GAO)



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