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February 12, 2008

Recent Efforts to Ban Junk Food Sales in Schools

According to an early December New York Times Article, federal lawmakers were considering a national ban on selling junk food in school vending machines. The measure, which was an amendment to the farm bill, faced significant hurdles before this beneficial change could become a reality.

Federal lawmakers are considering the broadest effort ever to limit what children eat: a national ban on selling candy, sugary soda and salty, fatty food in school snack bars, vending machines and à la carte cafeteria lines. Whether the measure, an amendment to the farm bill, can survive the convoluted politics that have bogged down that legislation in the Senate is one issue. Whether it can survive the battle among factions in the fight to improve school food is another.

No such luck.  On Thursday, December 13, 2007, the Senate dropped the amendment. According to a December 15, 2007 Washington Post Article :

The Senate on Thursday night dropped an amendment to the farm bill that would have banned fatty foods and high-calorie beverages at school snack bars, stores and vending machines, dealing a blow to its chances of passage.

The National School Nutrition Standards Amendment, sponsored by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), would have been the first legislation to update the nutrition standards since 1979, a period in which scientific opinion on what foods are appropriate has drastically shifted. Link to the current bill: Bill Summary and Status

Thank you to William Mitchell College of Law student Helen McDonough for preparing this post. 

February 12, 2008 in Children, Legislation, nutrition policy | Permalink

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