FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government has enhanced its public school nutrition policy to ensure students have access to healthier foods.

“Offering healthier food choices in schools will have a positive long-term impact on our students,” said Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Brian Kenny. “It is important that we promote and encourage our students to practice a healthy lifestyle and teach them what a proper meal looks like.”

Policy 711, Healthier School Food Environment, sets the minimum requirements for creating a healthier food environment in public schools.

The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development partnered with the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, dietitians from Public Health and other stakeholders to enhance the existing policy to reflect the most recent evidence and best practices in school nutrition.

“This is an exciting and critical time to be supporting and promoting healthy eating environments in our public schools,” said Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Jennifer Russell. “I would like to thank both regional health authorities, and the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development for their partnership and collaboration on the revised provincial school nutrition policy.”

The policy applies to all food and beverages sold, served or otherwise offered in all New Brunswick’s public schools, and requires foods of a higher nutritional value which are lower in saturated fat, sugar, and sodium. Additionally, beverages such as flavoured milk and juices, will no longer be sold, served or offered.

This includes: breakfast programs, lunch and hot lunch programs, vending machines, à la carte items, canteens, snacks and fundraisers. It also includes items that are not for sale, such as foods and beverages offered to students during classroom or schoolwide events.

District Education Councils may also develop policies with respect to their Healthier School Food Environment that are consistent or more comprehensive than the provincial policy.

The policy is available online.

The government’s 10-year education plans aim to improve educational outcomes and better prepare young people for the future. They set objectives in priority areas to create lifelong learners, support educational leaders and bring stability to the system.