Healthy foods

Manila, Philippines -- The Department of Education (DepEd) on Wednesday reminded school canteens that selling unhealthy snacks such as "junk foods" and carbonated drinks, particularly soft drinks, are strictly prohibited in all public elementary and secondary schools nationwide.

According to DepEd Assistant Secretary Jesus Mateo, the DepEd is against selling of unhealthy foods to students especially coming from their school canteens.

"We have an existing policy against selling of unhealthy foods like junk foods and other snacks as well as soft drinks inside our schools to make sure that our pupils only eat nutritious foods when they are inside the school premises," he explained.

Based on DepEd Order No.08, Series of 2007, or the "Revised Implementing Guidelines on the Operation and Management of School Canteens in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools," only "nutrient-rich foods and fortified food products labeled rich in protein, energy, vitamins and minerals shall be sold in school canteens" and that the "sale of carbonated drinks, sugar-based synthetic or artificially flavored juices, junk foods and any food product that may be detrimental to the child's health" is prohibited.

However, when classes for School Year (SY) 2013-2014 started last June 3, there were several school canteens - especially in the urban areas - that continue to sell "junk foods" such as chips and candies as well carbonated and sugar-based drinks such as soft drinks. With this, the DepEd reiterated that school canteen managers should adhere to the policy of the Department and stick to selling "only nutritious food especially inside the school premises."

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