Junk Food Returns

Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - 10:54am

School district may ease ban on junk food in school vending machines to boost profits.

At Seattle, Washington's Roosevelt High School, there’s not much action at the second floor vending machines with milk, juice and granola bars.

The better lunch time business is across the street at the nearby QFC.

Looking for less healthy lunch options, students make the quick walk to the grocery store for donuts, chips, soda pop and a hot meal - popcorn chicken.

Vending machine profits go to student governments or their athletic uniforms, clubs, dances and yearbooks.

Since the district went healthy, vending profits are down.

In 2001 students got $214,000 from vending machine profits.

This year with healthy food - only $17,000.

"We don’t want to bring junk food in, but we do want to bring in foods that students do like,” said senior Rhys Berkwitt.

Now the Seattle School Board is considering relaxing its ban on unhealthy foods, perhaps allowing more sugar, more fat.

"We may have gone a little too far, too prescriptive in what our policy is saying,” said Seattle School Board Member Michael Debell.

Many students say they avoid the vending machines not because of the food choices but because of the prices.

Seattle Schools are trying to find balance to get healthy kids and a healthy profit.

The School Board will likely revise its policy next spring, to take effect next school year.

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