Senate Approves Bills Addressing Food, Soda Sales in Schools
The Senate on Tuesday passed two measures by Sen. Martha Escutia (D-Norwalk) that would limit the sale of snack food and soda on school grounds statewide to help address increasing childhood obesity rates, the Sacramento Bee reports. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) is expected to sign SB 12, which addresses food available in school vending machines, and SB 965, which addresses soda sales (Benson, Sacramento Bee, 9/7).
SB 12 would set limits on the fat and sugar content of meals and snacks sold on campus during school hours, the Los Angeles Times reports. The legislation is aimed at limiting food sales to items that get no more than 35% of their calories from fat, 10% of their calories from saturated fat and have no more than 35% sugar by weight. The legislation would take effect on July 1, 2007.
SB 965 would prohibit the sale of soda during school hours. It allows low-fat milk, sports drinks, and drinks with 50% fruit juice and no added sweeteners. The restrictions on beverage sales would take effect beginning in 2009.
The legislation would not apply to food available at off-campus and evening events, food that students bring from home, or food that is given away at events such as school parties.
The bills -- which apply to elementary, middle and high schools -- are similar to efforts already taken in some of the state's school districts to make lunches and snacks healthier, according to the Times. Arizona and Texas have passed similar restrictions in recent years, but Escutia says regulations in other states are not as stringent as those included in her legislation (Landsberg/Morin, Los Angeles Times, 9/7).