The following statement was issued by Education Minister Brian Kenny, Liberal candidate for Bathurst West-Beresford:
I am deeply troubled by the recent reports I have read in both traditional and social media about the interpretation and enforcement of Policy 711 – Healthier School Food Environment.
Earlier this year, our government followed the advice of public health and nutritional experts to reduce the use of high sugar foods and drinks in schools and the advertising of unhealthy food brands in our schools.
Our goal was to eliminate things like slushies and juices and drinks with added sugar that were being allowed to be served under the previous policy, from being served on a daily basis to our students. An important nutritional example can and should be set in the school system about what foods are appropriate for daily consumption versus occasional consumption.
We fully support the successful and proactive events organized by teachers, parents and students to raise funds and boost school spirit that have gone on for years and should continue for years. We believe that the spirit of the policy should continue to allow existing fundraisers and the organization of extra-curricular, fundraising and holiday events that include treats. The policy should be applied with common sense and professional judgement.
During the election period, the role of politicians is strictly reduced and at this time my colleagues and I are not allowed to direct the officials in the government to make changes to policy. We have however encouraged them to clarify the policy and to ensure it is applied in a rational, common sense way. It is up to their discretion whether or not to do so.
If re-elected, we will immediately direct that the policy be applied with common sense and professional judgement and will amend the policy if necessary to ensure that these unintended consequences do not continue to occur.