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Bristol, Connecticut, schools join state program to limit artificial sweeteners, sugar, fats for 8800 students

Finally, we are getting somewhere within the education systems. When children do not have access to colas, diet colas, and processed "junk" foods on school campuses, they become nutritionally "coachable." Kids are always hungry, and they will eat nutritious foods when they have to - they know what fills them up and will never turn down a full tummy. So, weather the storm of social pressure and temper tantrums...teach your kids responsible eating, and what better place then in the schools? Do what I say, not what I do, parents and teachers!!??

Get those diet drinks out of the schools and out of your homes, and watch your children blossom into healthy and happy "coachable" beings.

To your health!

Dr. Janet Starr Hull


An Unsweet Deal
Johnny J Burnham
The Bristol Press
Sept. 22, 2006

BRISTOL, Connecticut -- The Board of Education has decided to join the growing list of districts willing to give up some of its autonomy in exchange for financial incentives and participate in the state Department of Education's healthy food and beverage program.

The state will now reimburse the district 10 cents per meal served in its public schools. Bristol stands to gain an estimated $90,000 with nearly 900,000 meals served during the school year.

"We will no longer be able to sell anything to our students that is not approved by the state as being a healthy food or beverage," said Superintendent of Schools Michael J. Wasta.

The district had to move quickly, Wasta said, when it learned that the state needed a response by October or it would not provide reimbursement for the meals served from the start of the school year until the date it received official notification of the district's plan to participate. This would cost Bristol approximately $9,000 a month.

Although the district will gain financially, school fund-raising efforts may take a hit.

Whether it be a bake sale or the middle school cheesecake sale, students, may not participate in the selling or handling of any high-sugared, non-approved food that has any connection with the school or its programs.

Under Public Act No. 06-63, the only beverages permitted are "milk that may be flavored but contain no artificial sweeteners and no more than four grams of sugar per ounce; nondairy milks such as soy or rice milk, which may be flavored but contain no artificial sweeteners, no more than four grams of sugar per ounce, no more than 35 per cent of calories from fat per portion and no more than ten per cent of calories from saturated fat per portion; one hundred per cent fruit juice, vegetable juice or combination of such juices, containing no added sugars, sweeteners or artificial sweeteners; beverages that contain only water and fruit or vegetable juice and have no added sugars, sweeteners or artificial sweeteners; and water, which may be flavored but contain no added sugars, sweeteners, artificial sweeteners or caffeine."

All districts, whether taking advantage of the state's meal reimbursement plan or not, must abide by this new beverage law.

However, schools are still authorized to sell banned items at an event occurring after the end of the regular school day or on the weekend as long as the food or drink is not sold from a vending machine or school store.

According to the superintendent, soda and snack concessions are still permitted at Muzzy Field during sporting events.

Although the board voted in favor of participating, one commissioner, Christopher C. Wilson, said joining was a mistake.

"I certainly support the healthy lifestyle but [the state] is taking all autonomy away from the local school boards," he said. "We would only lose $90,000 if we turned this down but we would have the freedom to serve the students what we deem appropriate."

Wasta added that to his knowledge only three districts have declined to participate.

William Smyth, assistant to the superintendent for business, said that those that have chosen not to participate are small districts that do not serve a lot of meals and therefore reimbursement is minimal.

Johnny Burnham covers Bristol health, education, school and children's issues. Contact him at or 584-0504 ext. 250.

©The Bristol Press 2006

Posted on September 24, 2006 in News | Link To This Entry | Comments (0)


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