States are Graded on School Nutrition: New York Barely Passes

Galef legislation would help state go to the head of the class
June 20, 2006

Today a state school foods report card was issued by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). New York was hovering just above the 23 failing states with a D+.

Assemblywoman Sandy Galef recently introduced legislation that would put stricter nutrition requirements and size limitations on the foods sold on school grounds. The Healthy Foods and Beverages Act (A.10729/S.7367) begins to address many of the state’s problems pointed out in the CSPI report. This bill is sponsored in the Senate by Senator Kenneth LaValle.

A.10729/S.7367 would make healthier choices available for New York’s students in school vending machines, lunch lines, and school stores by setting standards to follow for sugar, saturated fat, carbohydrates, and calories contained in edible items. Any food containing more than seven grams of fat, two grams of saturated fat, and any trans fat would be prohibited from being sold on school grounds.

“While the state may have not received a failing grade,” said Galef, “it is clear that we are headed down a dangerous path that is failing our children. Unless stricter nutrition plans are implemented in the near future, New York will accompany the other 23 states currently listed with failing marks.”

CSPI examined the 50 states and District of Columbia to establish a grading system for school nutrition policies. After examining foods and beverages sold in vending machines, in school stores, through fund raisers, and on a la carte lunch lines, CSPI compared the nutrition standards, grade levels, and locations for which each state’s standards apply. Kentucky made the grade with an A-. The state’s reasonably set nutrition standards place limitations on calories, saturated fat, and sugar content, and at the same time apply to all age groups, grades, and public schools throughout the state.

California, Connecticut and New Jersey recently implemented new nutrition standards that called for many of the same requirements as Galef’s bill. California received a B+, New Jersey was given a B, and Connecticut, who passed legislation two months ago, received a B-.

Galef’s legislation, also known as The Healthy Foods and Beverages Act, would enforce healthier standards for public schools throughout the state. Instead of sugary sodas, artificial juices, and unhealthy junk food, students would see a shift to water, 100% juices, fruits and vegetables, along with size limitations.

“Judging by the D+ our state nutrition policy has received, I believe it is time to revise this outdated plan and make the needed corrections. Action, through passing legislation, must be taken sooner rather than later,” said Galef. “The Healthy Foods and Beverages Act would aid many of the problems this report has exposed.”

To see CSPI’s State School Foods Report Card in its entirety, visit the Center for Science in the Public Interest web site.