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Panhandle schools already restrict foods despite legislative move against soda, sugary snacks

January 08, 2008|By DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.VA. ? State lawmakers are considering banning soft drinks and sugary snacks in public schools, but local schools already have restrictions on the drinks and food items.

No soft drinks are offered in Jefferson County Schools, said Dorrie Blue, an accountant in the food service department for Jefferson County Schools.

Jefferson High School has a vending machine that offers certain types of drinks, but the machine is on a timer and only dispenses drinks after regular school hours, Blue said.

The setup is to allow drinks for programs like sporting events, Blue said.

In Berkeley County Schools, a wellness policy only allows three types of beverages in schools: low-fat milk products, 100 percent fruit juices and water, said Kathy Yost, food services director for the school system.

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Snacks are offered but with only a certain level of sugar, Yost said.

The snack selections offered are usually items like crackers, trail mixes and some cookie products, Yost said.

School officials began implementing the wellness policy in 2006, although soft drinks have not been allowed in Berkeley County Schools since 1994, Yost said.

Although the new regulations are in place, Yost said she sometimes has to deal with "issues" involving vendors to make sure the schools receive the drinks and snacks school officials want.

Morgan County School officials could not be reached for comment.

A year after a legislative interim committee heard testimony about an oral health problem in the state, it recommended legislation Monday that would ban soft drinks and sugary snacks in all West Virginia schools.

The bill would only allow the sale of water, fruit and vegetable juices, and some types of milk. It also would restrict snacks to fruits, vegetables, cheese, yogurt, nuts and seeds in servings of 200 calories or fewer.

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