New food policy for schools

Change those chocolate bars to apples!

To address ever-increasing concerns about children’s health, the province has introduced a new healthy food policy that will be implemented in every school starting in September, 2011. The policy will have an impact on the types of food that can be offered in school cafeterias and vending machines, and will also affect hot lunch programs and school events where food is sold (eg. bake sales, fun fairs).

Under the new food policy, there are three categories of food products:

Healthiest (Sell Most) – foods with higher levels of nutrients and lower amounts of fat, sugar, and sodium. They must make up at least 80 per cent of all food that is for sale.

Healthy (Sell Less) – foods with slightly higher amounts of fat, sugar, and sodium than the “healthiest” category. They cannot make up more than 20 per cent of all food available for sale.

Not Permitted – foods that contain few or no essential nutrients and/or contain high amounts of fat, sugar, or sodium (e.g., deep-fried and other fried foods, candy). These products cannot be sold in schools.

As an illustration, the ministry suggests that a hamburger may be considered a “Sell Most” choice if it is made with extra-lean ground meat, whole grain bun, fresh lettuce and tomato. However, it may not be “permitted for sale” if it is prepared with regular ground meat, white bun and processed cheese.

The policy allows a principal, in consultation with the school council, to designate up to ten days each year as ‘special-event days’. On these occasions, food and beverages sold in schools will be exempt from the nutrition standards. School boards will be responsible for enforcing the new policy standards.

Get advice from the experts!

Jennifer Cowie Bonne, Director of Marketing and Development, OPHEA
Lucy Valleau RD, MHSc., Public Health Nutritionist, York Region Community and Health Services
Nina Robitaille, Coordinator, Healthy Initiatives, YMCA Healthy Active Schools (Simcoe/Muskoka)

Watch our webinar at

Join the discussion about the policy in our online community at


One response to “New food policy for schools

  1. Hi Annie,

    I applaud this change. I hope we can get students to cut sugar and unhealthy fats even more. I’m also trying to get my students to stop sleeping until 3pm this summer and read more than 20 minues a day!

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