FROM: Steven L. Paine
RE: Snacks at School Celebrations and Parties
DATE: October 27, 2008
I have received several calls and heard numerous concerns surrounding a new rule that governs foods and beverages brought from home and other outside sources into our schools. School personnel and parents are concerned about the impact that this provision may have on school celebrations and parties. State Board Policy 4321.1 Standards for School Nutrition appears to be the impetus for these calls and concerns.
The purpose of our school nutrition policy is to ensure that foods and beverages available at school will contribute to an overall healthful eating environment. With many schools currently planning celebrations, it is important to clarify certain provisions of the policy and provide you with some suggestions for classroom parties.
We live in a different day and age in regard to food safety and health concerns. Childhood obesity is on the rise, food allergies have more than doubled in our school systems, and food recalls are a common occurrence. The provisions of the state policy that address parties and celebrations are intended to protect our students from the threat of food borne illnesses. In addition, it is important to create a procedure for monitoring foods and beverages made available to students with special dietary needs. School personnel do not have the information necessary to determine whether foods from home are safe or pose a threat to a child with a special dietary need.
Local parent and family involvement is critical for success, and I understand and value the role of parents and families in our school systems. I encourage their continued involvement in school parties and celebrations. Families may send food and beverage items to school that are commercially packaged or sealed and meet the nutrient standard requirements of the policy. As in the past, families may send fresh fruits and vegetables. Commercially packaged items will enable our school personnel to determine if the item meets the policy standards. Additionally, children with special dietary needs will be able to participate without fear of a food-related allergic reaction or illness.
Although many health concerns did not originate in our education system,
If you have questions regarding school nutrition policies or need assistance with planning school parties and celebrations, please contact Richard Goff, Executive Director, Office of Child Nutrition at 304-558-2709.
pc: Rick Goff
(If you have questions related to this policy, please feel free to contact our school: 304-369-0763).