Junk Foods Shut Out of School Kitchens

Garcia wins fight to cut fat from students' diets

Sacramento— Assemblywoman Bonnie Garcia (R-Cathedral City) announced today that her effort to eliminate the sale of junk foods on school campuses sailed out of the Assembly Education Committee with no opposition.

Existing California law allows schools to raise funds by selling fast foods, snacks and drinks outside of the school cafeteria and in direct competition with the free and reduced meal programs. Tragically, this has encouraged kids to turn their backs on the nutritionally balanced meals and instead opt for chips, cookies, candies, etc.

AB 569 is the first bill ever to prohibit the sale of these items during breakfast and lunch periods anywhere on a school campus. Only full meals that include an entrée, side dish and milk product could be sold during those times. If prepared by an outside vendor, the meal would be required to meet the same nutritional guidelines as the federally subsidized meals. Products such as water, 100% juice, or fresh fruits and vegetables would be the only items sold a la carte.

“The growing crisis of childhood obesity is claiming our future generation and we must do something now. Garbage foods are making our kids fatter, prone to heart disease and worse of all, have reduced their life-span. Even the Governor agrees it’s time we stop nibbling around the problem and get serious about solutions”, said Assemblywoman Garcia.

Health expert claim since the early 1970’s, childhood obesity rates have more than doubled for preschoolers aged 2-5 and tripled for teenagers aged 12 to 19 years. According to the California Center for Public Health Advocacy, 26.5% of children in grades 5, 7 and 9 in California are overweight. The consequences for children are many, including low self-esteem, poor body image, discrimination and poor health.

Garcia closed by saying, “Parents trust their children to us between 8 am and 3 pm, and we should honor that by not stuffing their kids with junk at school.”

The bill now moves to the Assembly Floor for a full vote.