RCS food and allergy guidelines and the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act impacts food offerings

RCS food and allergy guidelines and the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act impacts food offerings

Michael Kainz

Rochester Community Schools implemented new food regulations both to accommodate students with allergies and meet the requirements outlined in the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 at the start of the 2014-15 school year.

“I think it sounds extreme, but I think we have to consider the safety of kids at all costs,” English teacher Ms. Erin Burke said. “And if I had a child with food allergies, perhaps I wouldn’t feel it was so extreme.”

While adults may be more understanding of the guidelines, junior Brandon Schroeder dislikes the no food in classrooms portion of the policy.

“Well, I have to eat in the highway while I get my books, which makes it inconvenient” Schroeder said.

Because of the new healthy-food criteria, the school store will no longer be able to sell candy and pop. This year, the store will only be able to sell gum, popcorn (with less oil), rice krispy treats, pretzels and baked lays.

“I think it’s going to be completely affected,” Ms. Burke said. “Because the school store’s hands are tied on what they’re allowed to sell.”

There is some confusion about the new policies because two different movements, one that targets removing allergens and one that targets removing unhealthy options, are converging at the same time. It has led to significant confusion.

“I think it’s because of all the allergies kids have to foods and the lack of knowledge of what every individual student is allergic to,” Schroeder said. “They should not have any more food allergy attacks with these new guidelines.”

Senior Eric Montgomery also attributes the changes to eliminating allergy risks.

“My friends feel that the new food guidelines aren’t fair to the majority of the students who don’t have any food allergies,” Montgomery said.

The staff is more informed about the two things affecting the new regulations, as they viewed an informational video at the opening staff meeting in August.

Teachers who once used snacks or candy as motivators will now have to find non food-related items as rewards.

“I think it has the potential to diminish student enjoyment and participation in classes,” Ms. Burke said.

Montgomery considered the benefits of the new rules.

“The benefits would probably be that kids will eat healthy, so they don’t risk developing obesity,” Montgomery said.