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New law targets school bake sales
Rochester, N.Y. - The same nutritional standards for healthy school lunches and school vending machines will now trickle down to school bake sales and fundraisers.
It's part of the effort to take on childhood obesity.
The Healthy Hungry-Free Kids Act passed in 2010 requires healthier foods in public schools, but this recent phase which passed in July will hold school bake sales and fundraisers to a higher standard.
"I think that you'll see the change won't impact the fact that snacks are sold at school, what you'll see is different kinds of snacks being sold at schools," Greece School District spokesperson Laurel Heiden said.
The guidelines only apply to sales on school grounds during school hours.
At that time, snacks sold must contain a certain amount of sugar and fat.
But at athletic events or other after school events, any snack is fair game.
Heiden said these rules start a conversation about options to help reduce childhood obesity.
"The emphasis is really on helping kids to make those healthy choices and taking those not so healthy foods out of the equation," said Heiden.
It's a concept the Zuniga family is on board with.
"Everybody loves a good cookie but if you're going to eat just cookies that's a problem," said parent Mauricio Zuniga said. "If you can eat veggies and things that are healthy and keep you in balance and a good baseline then I don't have a problem with that."
But some say the government is going too far.
"I definitely feel they're overstepping their boundaries. As parents whatever sells, we should have the option available and not limiting us to certain things," parent Jeanie Becker said.
It's a change New York State has already prepared for.
Many schools in the state eliminated traditional homemade bake sales for a number of years due to dietary restrictions.
"This has definitely been a push in New York State, food service people have been mindful of and preparing for and this is just the next step in that process," Heiden said.
A change that school districts say will eventually become an ordinary routine.
"I think eventually people won't remember the days you could buy a slushy in school, it will be the new normal," Heiden said.
As schools prepare to welcome students back, Food Service Directors in the Greece School District will go over guidelines with principals at each school.
Principals are responsible for rolling out the new standards.
The USDA will spot check schools to make sure they're in compliance.
States can apply for exemptions, to allow your typical bake sales; however, Heiden said it's her understanding that New York will not allow that.