Madison Schools’ Proposed Comprehensive Food Policy

Madison Metropolitian School District News Release:

Community asked for feedback on proposals, Board will begin to consider next month
As the next step in developing a Madison School District comprehensive food policy, recommendations are being released today by a student work group for consideration by the Board of Education.

There’s been quite a bit of discussion on this topic here.

This policy could influence which foods are served in school breakfast
and lunch programs, school “potlucks” and other classroom
celebrations; vending machine sales and other school fundraising
activities; and the locations in the school in which food is eaten.
Included in the proposals are separate sets of recommendations from
the MMSD Student Senate and the district’s management team.
The school district has placed on its Web site a questionnaire that is
designed to provide community feedback on the recommendations
contained in the draft food policy. See “Comprehensive Food Policy” at
. All related food policy documents are available
here also.
In addition, citizens will have opportunities to address the Board of
Education members at Board meetings or through the “comments” portion
of the district Web site in the coming weeks before the Board makes
any final decisions. The Board is first scheduled to consider the
recommendations on April 24.
The Need
The Madison Metropolitan School District is committed to developing a
comprehensive food policy that promotes the health of students,
through a safe and healthy food environment and high quality lunches
and food services, and that addresses the sale of foods for
1. Health of Students: Overweight and obesity rates have doubled in
children and tripled in teens over the two decades. Currently, 16.5%
of American children are obese.
While obesity is a multi-factored problem, over-consumption of soft
drinks and foods with minimal nutritional value is part of the
problem. While low levels of physical activity are also an important
part of the problem, children are clearly eating more calories now
than in the past.
2. Safe and Healthy Environment: MMSD has a duty to maintain a safe
and healthy environment for its students and staff by minimizing the
risks related to poor food preparation and of exposure to allergens,
particularly nuts and peanuts.
3. School Lunch/Food Services: In all grades, the overriding goal of
the comprehensive food policy is to improve the nutritional quality of
foods available to children by ensuring that no foods or beverages
available at school contradict the current nutritional
4. Fund-raising: Competitive foods are any foods sold in competition
with the school lunch program. In the MMSD, competitive foods include
items that are sold by school stores, in vending machines, or as part
of fund-raising activities.
The district is committed to providing the most nutritious food
possible to our students during the school day.
The Process
At the start of this school year, a small group of high school
students who are members of the MMSD Student Senate expressed an
interest in working intensively on developing recommendations for a
comprehensive food policy. Over the last four months, they have
learned a great deal about health, nutrition and Food Services
operations in schools.
In addition to the student work, several focus groups have been held
to gather parent, community and school staff input.
The student work group then developed a food policy and presented
their recommendations to the Student Senate and to the district
management team. The final recommendations are in the draft food
policy that is being forwarded to the Board of Education for
The Student Senate and the district management team chose to offer
their own set of recommendations, some of which are the same and some
of which differ from the work group’s set.
The Recommendations
There are 19 recommendations in all, grouped into five categories:
Nutrition, Sales, Food Safety, Environment, and Consumption. They
would apply to school breakfast/lunch programs, vending machines,
school stores, school sponsored fund-raising activities, and classroom
The proposals would not apply to booster club fund-raising or the
fund-raising of school-sanctioned clubs that occurs more than 30
minutes outside of school hours.
Agreement Of the 19 recommendations, the student work group, the
Student Senate and the district management team agreed in full on 11.
For details, see the table “Comprehensive Food Policy —
Recommendations by Student Work Group, Student Senate and Management
In short, the agreed upon recommendations are:
1A. Meals served by MMSD Food Services comply with or exceed all USDA
1B. Maximum fat and saturated fat percentages are established for all
“a la carte” items available during school breakfast/lunch programs or
that are served to students during the school day.
3A1. For all school activities held during school hours which include
the preparation of food, and the consumption of that food by students
(e.g. pot lucks or theme meals), the steps below (4 — 6) must be
observed. These steps are also strongly recommended for staff-only
activities (e.g. teacher appreciation lunches).
3A2. The MMSD School Potluck Food Safety pamphlet will be distributed
to all who will prepare the food and that food must be prepared in
accordance with the pamphlet.
3A3. A comprehensive list of ingredients for each dish must be placed
in close proximity to the dish and the list must also identify the
name of one person who participated in the making of the dish and
his/her contact information.
3A4. Each school will have at least one designated person who has
completed food safety training. That person will be responsible for
ensuring that the food served at school events, whether prepared at
home or school, is prepared and served in accordance with the School
Potluck Food Safety guidelines.
3B. MMSD Food Services will not provide peanuts or nut products in
elementary school lunches after the 2005-06 school year. This includes
peanut butter sandwiches.
4A. Food will not be consumed on or over carpets or rugs.
4B. School staff are encouraged to limit consumption of food in
5A. When permitted by classroom teachers or other supervising adults,
students may eat their own food. It is each student’s responsibility
to clean up after him/herself.
5B. All students receiving their breakfast from MMSD Food Services and
eating it in their school building will be permitted at least 10
minutes in which to eat. All MMSD schools shall have lunch periods of
at least 30 minutes.
Differences The Student Senate and the district management team did
not agree in full on eight of the student work group recommendations.
These recommendations are in three distinct areas: vending sales,
candy and snack sales, and food safety.
Vending sales — The student work group and the management team
recommend beverage vending at middle and high schools of only water,
milk, 100% fruit juices without sweeteners or caffeine, and sports
beverages without caffeine or a specified level of sweetener.
The Student Senate proposes no restrictions on beverages offered at
high schools.
Candy and snack sales —
(2B1) The student work group and the management team recommend candy
will not be given or sold to students nor offered for sale at school
or to the community by the school during the school day.
The Student Senate proposes this restriction would not apply to high
school students.
(2B2) The student work group and the management team recommend no food
will be sold from vending machines to students.
The Student Senate proposes this restriction would apply only during
the school day or within 30 minutes of the school day.
Food Safety — The only significant disagreement of the three
recommendations is on (3E). The student work group and the management
team recommend food will not be used in classrooms as a manipulative
or reward for learning (e.g. small candies used in math class) or in
activities that involve students handling and possibly eating the food
The Student Senate proposes this restriction would not apply to high
school students.
To see the complete recommendations, go to the table “Comprehensive
Food Policy — Recommendations by Student Work Group, Student Senate
and Management Team”.
Madison Metropolitan School District
Public Information Office
545 W. Dayton St.
Madison, WI 53703