School nutrition policy updated

FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government has revised its public school nutrition policy.

“We have heard from New Brunswickers who have expressed concerns about the level of restrictions included in the previous nutrition policy,” said Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Dominic Cardy. “These changes will provide flexibility and empower local school communities to make informed decisions about the health and well-being of their students.”

Policy 711, Healthier School Food Environment, sets the minimum requirements for creating a healthier food environment in public schools.

As part of the new standards, flavoured milk and 100-per cent fruit juice may be sold in schools.

In addition, given the unique challenges associated with breakfast programming and the vulnerable students served by the programs, school districts will be allowed some flexibility while they work to provide the healthiest food options possible. Schools and districts will also be empowered to organize fundraisers and special events that respond to their unique needs.

“I am pleased that we have found a way to protect the integrity of the nutrition policy and will continue to promote and model healthy choices for our students while allowing for some flexibility where it makes sense,” said Robert Fowler, chair of the Anglophone South school district education council and chair of the anglophone provincial council of district education council chairs. “It is especially important that we have ensured our breakfast and lunch programs will continue to provide a much-needed service in our schools.”

While much of the focus has been on school food criteria, the policy’s main goals are to promote optimal health and well-being through nutritional literacy and educational programming, consistent with the government’s 10-year education plans.

District education councils may also develop policies that are consistent with or more comprehensive than the provincial policy.

The policy is available online.