Local schools start adjusting to sugar beverage ban
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” The Roaring Fork School District should have little trouble complying with a new state ban on sugary soft drinks in public schools, since most of its schools have already made adjustments.
“I don’t believe it will have that big an impact on what we’re doing,” said Shannon Pelland, RFSD Assistant Superintendent of Business. “We had already tried to comply with the bill as it was proposed last year.”
Gov. Bill Ritter signed the new legislation related to nutrition in public schools into law last spring, but directed the State Board of Education to write the actual rules. The rules were adopted in December, and the ban goes into effect on July 1.
The new law prohibits the sale of beverages containing sugar to students in school cafeterias, vending machines, school stores and fund-raising activities conducted on school campuses.
Beverages sold at sports events and other events where adults are part of the audience are exempt.
The rules outline different beverage nutritional standards for elementary, middle and high schools, with allowances for some low-calorie beverages for older students.
“Our middle schools no longer sell any drinks containing sugar,” Pelland said. However, some of the beverages in high school vending machines, such as diet soda and sport drinks, will need to be replaced when the new rules kick in, she said.
Cafeterias at district schools in Glenwood Springs, Carbondale and Basalt have already made the necessary adjustments, according to District Food Service Director Michelle Hammond.
“In the elementary schools we only serve white milk now, and the middle and high schools follow the state guidelines,” she said. “We have an overall goal of serving our students healthy beverages and foods, so it wasn’t something I had to take a look at too much.”
The new law passed by the State Legislature is aimed at reducing childhood obesity.
Meanwhile, the district is also considering whether to implement a healthy meals pilot program aimed at reducing the amount of processed food in school lunches.
Kate Adamick, a national institutional meal program consultant, visited district schools earlier this year to provide an assessment.
“She will give us a final overview of her assessment, and where we should go from there,” Hammond said.
Contact John Stroud: 384-9160
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