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By September 2007, New Jersey districts will adopt the most comprehensive school nutrition policy in the nation
For Immediate Release: June 6, 2005 Contact:

Lynne Richmond

(SOUTH ORANGE) – Acting Governor Richard J. Codey today announced that, by September 1, 2007, New Jersey school districts will be required to adopt a comprehensive statewide policy that will ban soda and junk foods, and teach better eating habits.

“Schools are where children spend most of their time,” Codey said. “Instead of encouraging bad eating habits and bad health with the easy accessibility of candy and soda, schools must be a place where we teach good nutrition and lay the foundation for good eating habits. Today New Jersey starts on a different path. We will make our schools a national leader in the effort to give our children a head start on a longer, healthier and more enjoyable life.”

The timeline is set by the state Agriculture Department’s amended Nutrition Rule, which has been approved by the State Board of Agriculture and will take effect upon its publication in the June 20 New Jersey Register. The amended Nutrition Rule includes the “Model School Nutrition Policy.”

The policy will be phased in, giving school districts time to adjust. By September 1, 2006, districts will have to adopt a school nutrition policy. By September 1, 2007, districts will have to match their policies to the Model School Nutrition Policy as laid out in the amended Nutrition Rule.

“The guidelines included in the amended rule give New Jersey the most comprehensive school nutrition policy in the nation, with regulations on fats and sugar covering pre-K through high school,” Agriculture Secretary Charles M. Kuperus said in a media event with the Acting Governor at South Orange Middle School. “There is no disputing that proper nutrition is crucial to student performance in school. With these new policies in effect, New Jersey takes a very big step toward improving the health and well-being of our students.”

South Orange Middle School was chosen as the site for today’s announcement because its food service director, Pat Johnson, already has incorporated many of the regulations of the Model School Nutrition Policy. The school’s beverage vending machines include no carbonated beverages. The cafeteria features a salad bar and other fresh fruits and vegetables daily and has replaced fried side dishes with vegetables.

“People told us that participation in our school lunch program would decrease, but it actually has gone up,” said Johnson. “If you offer the healthy foods, the kids will eat them.”

Once adopted statewide by September 1, 2007, the Model School Nutrition Policy will apply to all vending machines, cafeterias, a la carte lines, snack bars, school stores, fundraisers and the reimbursable After School Snack Program.

Under the policy:

· The following may not be served, sold or given out free as promotion anywhere on school policy at any time before the end of the school day:
o Foods of minimal nutritional value, as defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This includes a ban on soda.
o Items listing sugar in any form as the first ingredient.
o All forms of candy.

· Schools will reduce the purchase of any products containing trans fats.

· All snack and beverage items must meet the following requirements:
o No more than 8 grams of total fat per serving, and no more than 2 grams of saturated fat per serving.
o All beverages shall not exceed 12 ounces except water, or milk containing 2 percent or less fat.
o Whole milk shall not exceed 8 ounces.

· Each school’s curriculum must include nutrition education.

Further information about the policy can be found at www.state.nj.us/agriculture/modelnutritionpolicy.htm.