House Education Committee Debates Nutrition Standards

This morning the House Education Committee heard HB 503 Nutrition Standards/All Foods Sold at School.

Currently under Federal Law there are strict nutrition standards, which dictate what food can be served in public schools at lunchtime in the cafeteria and in vending machines.

This bill requires that nutrition standards be adopted for ALL food items that are being be sold in schools during the lunch period. This would include food being sold at fundraising events/bake sales, school stores, snack bars, etc.

Rep. Insko and LaRoque presented the bill in committee and argued that they were sponsoring the bill as a response to the growing obesity problem. LaRoque mentioned that 23 other states have adopted similar bills.

Rep. Iler asked if this would affect the sale of Girl Scout cookies, he was assured no, as long as they were not being sold during lunch hours.

Rep. Horn raised the issue that you sale at fundraisers what sales= cookies, brownies, candy. What child is going to buy an apple? Horn went onto argue that kids will not eat things that they don’t like- this bill could cause a backlash of children packing their own lunches and snacks full of junk food.

Rep. Torbett argued that child obesity has to be fought one two fronts. We can’t just address nutrition standards physical education needs to be an issue that is being discussed. Rep. Insko assured him that it is.

Rep. Wilkins asked if this would apply to charter schools. Rep. Insko responded with no and also reminded the legislators that not all charter schools even provide lunch. Insko said she would be willing to consider applying this law to charter schools but would want to have charters schools input first.

Rep. Luebke proposed an amendment that would apply the nutrition standards to charter schools.

Rep. Bryant questioned if they were moving too fast on this issue. She argued that this might be a one-size-fits-all approach that doesn’t fit. She asked if maybe they should look at data first?

Staff reported that they needed more time with the amendment so Luebke withdrew the amendment and said he would save it for the House floor.

The bill passed out of committee with a favorable report.

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