Schools welcome Government decision to shelve vending ban

25 June 2004
Schools welcome Government decision to shelve vending ban

Proposals from the Government to ban vending machines in schools are unlikely to go ahead, following pressure from head teachers.

Ministers were put under pressure to remove vending machines from schools after a Health Select Committee report earlier this month said they contained snacks that were high in fat, sugar and salt and were encouraging unhealthy eating in schools.

But ministers are now expected to tell the committee they do not intend to tell head teachers to ban the machines.

A Government spokesman said it did not have the power to ban the 5,000 vending machines currently in schools, although it would like to phase out all fizzy drink, chocolate and crisp vending machines and replace them with healthier options.

Vending machines stocked with healthier options such as water, fruit juice and yogurt, have proved successful, according to the Department of Health, which is piloting the machines in 10 schools involved in its Food in Schools project. A spokesman said one school in Norfolk was turning over £600 a week from two "healthy" vending machines.

Steven Watts, managing director of Compass-owned schools caterer Scolarest added: "Head teachers welcome the move as vending machines can provide extra funds for schools but we recognise that the emphasis on the product mix needs to change."

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