The humble toasted ham and cheese sandwich has been placed on the list of restricted foods in school cafeterias, prohibiting children from ordering the lunch favorite.
A review of food and drink rules in Western Australian schools came into force weeks after controversial recommendations effectively banning ham were issued to schools in December.
Under the new rules, ham is now considered “red” in the traffic light classification of canteen items sold to students statewide.
Since 2007, dining room menu items have been labeled green for nutritious, amber for occasional, while red items such as chips, candy and other junk food are prohibited from sale.
Ham and cheese toasties were previously classified as green, while a plain ham sandwich was classified as amber, which was to be consumed in moderation, but was still allowed to be sold every day.
Changes to Western Australia’s school food and drink rules have come into play since advice was given to schools in December, effectively banning ham.
The new system classifies ham as red, eliminating it completely from dining room menus.
There is an exception for several expensive, low-fat, low-salt products, restricted to two days a week.
According to a new online tool ‘foodchecker’ for canteens, there are now no less than 20 ham products classified as red and prohibited for sale.
Only three ham products are in a category called ‘selected red’, meaning they have met strict nutritional standards and can be sold two days a week.
WA School Canteens Association chief executive Megan Sauzier said she understood the reasoning behind the decision, but believes the decision is not in the best interest of schools.
She believes it is unrealistic for eaters to get rid of toasted ham and cheese sandwiches because, when they were good, they were part of an overall healthy eating diet.
”We have already made a lot of progress because the schools do not have salami or mortadella, nor chips, nor soft drinks, nor sweets. Do we need to get rid of the ham too? ? “I’m not sure,” she said. Western Australia.
Western Australian students can’t order the humble ham and cheese toastie (file photo)
The changes have also seen sausage rolls and pies, including reduced-fat versions previously classified as amber, and oven-baked pieces being reclassified as “select red items.”
In addition, all cakes and cookies have changed from amber to red, while full-fat dairy products such as milk, yogurt and cheese have changed in the opposite direction: from amber to green.
Sauzier called for a longer transition period because the changes were causing confusion among suppliers and dining room workers.
She believes some of the changes were positive, such as turning full-fat dairy from amber to green, as it is based on the latest health evidence.
But there are concerns about other items, such as fruit juice slushies that are now red, but the thawed form is still amber.
Some flavored waters went from red to green.
A Western Australian Department of Health fact sheet says new school food and drink rules began at the start of the first term, but schools had no deadline for implementing them.
said Department of Education Deputy Director General Jim Bell. Western Australia Some amber foods are now red.
‘However, this does not represent a ban on these reclassified foods. He points out that healthier choices can be made, although these foods can still be sold as long as the menu is made up of 60 percent foods classified as organic,” he stated.
Ham and cheese toasties were previously classed as green in WA school canteens but have since been banned.
Bell added that schools should consult with parents to find out what foods everyone is comfortable having on the menu.
He said the new policy was about helping cafeterias promote healthy options without restricting popular items or compromising school profits.
Fresh School Nutrition Advisory Program director Aisling Pawlowski said the reclassifications were in line with Australian dietary guidelines and international evidence.
‘The announcement of any change can be challenging and cause concern. However, thanks to funding from the WA Department of Health, FreshSNAP is available to all school cafeterias to help them implement the necessary changes,” he said.
While the reform has sparked outrage among parents, the new rules could be a step in the right direction as consuming too many processed meats, such as ham, has been shown to increase the risk of bowel cancer.