Modifications to the way in which WA colleges promote wholesome consuming for teenagers have prompted considerations that junk meals akin to chips, gentle drinks and lollies might creep again on to highschool canteen menus.
The Well being Division was just lately awarded a $3.7 million contract to Victorian-based group Vitamin Australia to supply a “complete of college wholesome consuming program” — snubbing the WA Faculty Canteen Affiliation, which has delivered the State Authorities’s wholesome food and drinks coverage in colleges for the previous 15 years.
Whereas the brand new program is anticipated to proceed a site visitors mild system categorizing meals selections as inexperienced for nutritious, amber for infrequent, or crimson for junk, there are fears the brand new supplier will change WA’s standards.
“At a college degree, which may imply the well being of our youngsters is affected as a result of we might have some unhealthy gadgets coming into colleges which haven’t at the moment been there,” WASCA chief government Megan Sauzier stated.
“The site visitors mild system is a bit completely different in Victoria. Pink meals, for instance, that are gentle drinks, lollies and chips, are off the menu in WA and have been off the menu from 2007, whereas in Victoria you are allowed to have crimson meals twice a time period.”
Vitamin Australia is but to launch full particulars of its method, however insists there can be no speedy adjustments to WA’s site visitors mild standards.
“We are going to implement the factors the WA authorities desires us to implement,” Vitamin Australia’s Victorian wholesome consuming advisory service program supervisor Margaret Rozman stated.
Ms Sauzier stated the choice to ignore WASCA’s wonderful monitor file and expertise to award the tender to an interstate group meant its funding had been slashed by 41 per cent, considerably decreasing its capability to help colleges and assess their canteen menus.
“We look ahead to seeing what’s developed . . . however till that service is ready up, we’re components of what that can seem like and there is prone to be a spot within the companies colleges are used to receiving,” she stated. “Something that will increase the burden on college or canteen workers is prone to have a adverse impact.”
Pania Turner, president of the WA Council of State Faculty Organizations — the height physique for P&C teams which function most college canteens — has written to Well being Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson and Well being Division director-general David Russell-Weisz to specific her “disappointment on the lack of session”, including: “I’ve considerations that help for constructing wholesome meals cultures in class communities will likely be much less.”
Ms Turner stated canteens have been an vital college service. “It’s important that they’ve entry to skilled help from individuals who perceive WA colleges and the complexities that come from working canteens that are largely staffed by volunteers,” she stated.
A spokeswoman for the Well being Division stated it was performed an open, aggressive tender course of to pick out a program supplier in accordance with WA Authorities procurement coverage to roll out a complete new whole-of-school wholesome consuming program for all WA colleges — private and non-private.
“A brand new web site for colleges with assets, curriculum supplies, on-line coaching and a web based FoodChecker recipe and menu evaluation device will likely be delivered, in addition to telephone, e mail and face-to-face help for all college and canteen workers,” she stated .
“Phrases 3 and 4 are a transition section, whereas the brand new program is rolled out in full by the beginning of the 2023 college 12 months.”
The spokeswoman stated supporting West Australians to halt rising weight problems ranges was a key precedence for the division.
“Serving to youngsters set up wholesome consuming habits whereas in class is in an important a part of the concerted effort to assist the entire WA neighborhood obtain this goal,” she stated.
The Schooling Division stated the supplier would want to help colleges to enact the necessities of the Wholesome Meals and Drink in Public Faculties procedures.