Offer healthy foods

Offer healthy foods and set standards in public institutions and other specific settings

This table provides examples of the types of policy actions that can be taken within this policy area, examples of where these policy actions have been implemented, and a brief description of what the action involves. It provides a global snapshot, largely of policies already implemented; it is not necessarily comprehensive. The examples were collated through a review of international reports of policy actions around the world, academic articles reporting on policy actions, and online government resources.

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Examples of policy actions Examples of where implemented What the action involves
Fruit & vegetable initiatives in schools Australia

Crunch&Sip® is a vegetable and fruit programme promoting the consumption of fruit, vegetables and water during class time. It involves students bringing in fruit, vegetables and water from home. It was launched in 2005 in Western Australia, funded by the Department of Health of Western Australia as part of the Australian Government’s “Go for 2&5®” fruit and vegetable campaign, and coordinated by the Cancer Council Western Australia. It has since been extended to New South Wales (through Healthy Kids Association) and South Australia (through the South Australian Dental Service). Funding is currently provided by each of the state governments. Schools participating in Crunch&Sip® are required to ensure that at least 80% of classes and 70% of students participate in the daily fruit and vegetable break. Schools need to endorse a supportive school policy and are encouraged to implement a parent communication strategy and develop curriculum material.


School fruit and vegetable programmes operate at the province level in British Columbia, Manitoba and Northern Ontario:

− British Columbia’s School Fruit & Vegetable Nutritional Program, launched in 2005 and administered by the British Columbia Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation, provides fresh local fruits or vegetable snacks to schools every other week, 13 times in the school year. In 2013, the programme expanded to deliver milk to students in Kindergarten to grade two. It is administered by the British Columbia Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation, and funded by the British Columbia Ministry of Health in partnership with the Ministries of Agriculture and Education.

− Ontario’s Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care launched the Northern Fruit and Vegetable Program (NFVP) in Northern Ontario in 2006, in cooperation with the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. Elementary and intermediate school-aged children receive fruit and vegetable snacks at no cost, in combination with healthy eating and physical activity education, twice per week from January to June. NFVP is currently delivered in three regions of Northern Ontario, in partnership with the local health units, school boards, and elementary and intermediate schools.

− Manitoba’s Vegetable & Fruit Snack Program, launched in 2008, is funded by the Province of Manitoba and the Public Health Agency of Canada; the number of times pupils receive fruit and vegetable snacks per week depends on each school’s way of implementation.

European Union

25 EU countries participate in the EU School Fruit Scheme, which was launched in the 2009/2010 school year targeting children aged 6-10 years. It provides financing (countries must also provide at least 25% of total costs) to support national school fruit and vegetable programmes. The implementation of the programmes is at the discretion of national governments, but to receive funding, they must distribute fruits and vegetables in schools and implement "Accompanying Measures" e.g. educational measures, such as farm and market visits, educational material distributed to teachers and interactive games on education and nutrition. The individual schemes in each participating country vary between daily distributions (for example Denmark) to a couple of times per month (for example Czech Republic). In 2014, the EU released a proposal to merge the programme with the EU School Milk Scheme.


In 2007, the national government introduced legislation requiring schools to offer one free piece of fruit or vegetables, 5 days a week to pupils in grades 1-10. This was repealed in autumn 2014. In its place, a subsidised programme that requires parents to subscribe has been expanded to all primary schools.

United Kingdom

The School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme has operated in England since 2004. Children aged four to six who attend a fully state-funded infant, primary or special school are entitled to receive a free piece of fruit or vegetable each school day.

In Scotland, the Free Fruit in Schools initiative provides one portion of fruit three times a week during term time to all Key Stage 1 and 2 pupils (primary school). It is implemented at the discretion of local authorities.

United States

The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, implemented in 2008, makes funds available to schools with at least 50% of students eligible for free or reduced price meals. Participating schools receive $50-$75 per child and are free to decide what fruit and vegetables to purchase.

Mandatory standards for food available in schools, including restrictions on unhealthy foods Australia

There are no national mandatory standards (see below for details of national voluntary guidelines). However, six states and territories have implemented mandatory standards, which are either based on the national voluntary guidelines or nutrient and food criteria defined by the state: Australian Capital Territory (2015), New South Wales (2011), Northern Territory (2009), Queensland (2007), South Australia (2008), and Western Australia (2014). All of these states and territories identify 'red category' foods, which are either completely banned in schools or heavily restricted (e.g. offered no more than one or two times per term).

Queensland’s “Smart Choices” school nutrition standards separate foods and drinks into green, amber and red categories based on their energy, saturated fat, sugar, sodium and fibre content. Smart Choices ensures that “red” foods and drinks are eliminated across the whole school environment.

In February 2014, the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) announced the phasing out of sugary drinks for sale in school canteens by the end of 2014. The 2015 ACT School Food and Drink Policy prohibits the sale of sugary drinks in ACT public school canteens. ACT is working to ensure water is the easiest choice available, including the installation of two water refill stations in each public school.


The Healthy Schools Nutrition Policy, implemented and mandatory in schools in 1997, contains school food standards that include the provision of fruits and vegetables in food service/cafeteria menus and all school events that provide food, limits on the use of foods high in salt and sugar, provision of low-fat dairy products, leaner meats, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, the use of lower-fat cooking methods, the consumption of whole fruits and vegetables as preferable to the sole consumption of fruit and vegetable juices and school lunches are required to be consistent with the recommendations of Bermuda’s Daily Dietary Guidelines EatWell Plate.

The Food Service Providers Contract, implemented in 2009 to strengthen the compliance of cafeteria, hot lunch and breakfast vendors in schools, mandates that foods provided in schools must be consistent with the Healthy School Nutrition Policy. To monitor compliance, a form exists in which anyone at any school can rate various aspects of a meal provided by a food service provider (e.g. appropriateness of portion sizes, inclusion of 4 of 5 food groups, etc).

The Ministry of Education also has a policy in which only fruit, yoghurt, cheese, crackers and vegetables can be eaten at morning recess.


Resolution no. 38 (16 July 2009) promulgated by the Ministry of Education sets food- and nutrition-based standards for the foods available in the national school meal programme (Law 11.947/2009 – Regulamento del Programa Nacional de Alimentação Escolar). Article 17 prohibits drinks of low nutritional value (e.g. soda), canned meats, confectionary, and processed foods with a sodium and/or saturated fat content higher than a specified threshold.

School "canteens" – kiosks and stores where foods can be purchased for takeaway inside public schools – are covered by voluntary guidelines (see "Voluntary guildines").


The reduction of salt, fat and sugar content in food served in all canteens in schools, kindergartens and childcare centres was mandated by ordinances in 2009, 2011, and 2013 respectively. In addition, there are restrictions in place for certain unhealthful foods and drinks in vending machines. The corresponding recipe books used by school caterers for school children and children aged 0 – 3 years were updated in 2012 and 2013, respectively, to reflect the ordinances’ requirements. The recipe book for kindergarten pupils is under revision. Compliance with the ordinances is monitored by the Regional Health Inspectorates who may fine offenders.


In 2012, the Chilean government approved a Law of Nutritional Composition of Food and Advertising (Ley 20, 606). In June 2015, the Chilean authority approved the regulatory norms required for the law’s implementation (Diario Oficial No 41.193). The regulatory norms define limits for calories, saturated fat, sugar and sodium content considered “high” in foods and beverages. The law prohibits the sale of foods in the “high in” category in schools. See “N” for details of the labelling regulations and “R” for marketing restrictions to children. These are scheduled to take effect 1 July 2016.

Costa Rica

Executive Decree No. 36910-MEP-S (2012) of the Ministries of Health and Education sets restrictions on products sold to students in elementary and high schools, including foods with high levels of fats sugars and salt such as chips, cookies, candy and carbonated sodas. Schools are only permitted to sell foods and drinks that meet specific nutritional criteria. The restrictions were upheld by the Constitutional Court in 2012 following a challenge by the Costa Rican Food Industry Association.


In 2008, the Ministry of Social Affairs adopted updated regulations on nutrition requirements applicable to food served in school and pre-school canteens. These requirements contain upper limits for salt, sugar and fat content, and restrict (deep) fried products, sweet treats and soft drinks.


The Ministry of Education’s Food and Nutrition Policy requires all school canteen operators to comply with Fiji’s School Canteen Guidelines, developed by the National Food and Nutrition Centre in 2005 and revised in 2013. The guidelines outline how to prepare and provide healthy “everyday” foods with recipes and nutrition guidelines. They are enforced by the Ministry of Education.


In 2008, the National Nutrition Council approved nutrition recommendations for school meals. These include food and nutrient recommendations for salt, fibre, fat, starch, fat and salt maximums for meat and processed meat, and drinks. There are also criteria for snacks provided in schools.

In 2009, legislation required products entitled to EU subsidies under the School Milk Scheme to meet nutritional criteria, including maximum levels of salt content. The criteria are set jointly by the Finnish National Nutrition Council and KELA, the Social Insurance Institution of Finland.


Decree No. 2011-1227 of 30 September 2011, (arising from Law No 2010-874 of 27 July 2010 on the modernization of agriculture and fisheries), regulates the nutritional quality of school meals in France, including the diversity and composition of meals, provision of water, portion sizes and restrictions on salt and sauces outside of prepared dishes. School canteen managers are required to keep record of menus for the previous three months at all times, including detailed information on food purchased from suppliers and are required to identify clearly on menus, seasonal ingredients in the composition of the meal. This follows from Interministerial Circular No. 2001-118 of 25 June 2001 which made recommendations on consuming a balanced diet in schools.


In July 2011, the Hungarian Parliament introduced a Public Health Product Tax on the salt, sugar and caffeine content of various categories of ready-to-eat foods and drinks (see "U"). The products to which the tax applies cannot be sold on school premises or at events organised for children.


In 2008, the Iranian Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health developed the "Guideline for healthy diet and school buffets". In 2013, the nutrition part of the Guideline was updated. The Guideline contains a list of healthy and unhealthy foods, established by an expert committee based on their content of sugar, salt, fat, and harmful additives. It also includes guidance on proper food preparation and catering as well as maintenance of the physical environment in which food is prepared (kitchen, storage).


The Jordanian Ministry of Health have set food standards regulating which foods may be sold to students in school canteens as part of the National School Health Strategy (2013-17), which was prepared in coordination with a multi-sectorial committee and approved in 2012.


The Ministries of Health and Education of Kuwait introduced a ban of fizzy drinks, crisps and chocolates on school premises to reduce the intake of fat and sugar by pupils, and to increase their milk consumption; they also introduced fruits and vegetables in the breakfasts offered by tuck shops in schools. The ban is monitored by the Ministry of Education but compliance is not reported to be high.


In 2006, the Latvian government implemented legislation that prohibited the sale/availability of soft drinks, drinks with added colours, sweeteners, preservatives and caffeine on all school premises.

In 2012, the government set salt levels for all foods served in educational institutions. Levels may not exceed 1.25g of salt per 100g of food product; fish products may contain up to 1.5g of salt per 100g of product. The standards also apply in hospitals and long-term social care institutions (see below).


In November 2011 the Lithuanian Ministry of Health approved Order V-964 that set catering standards for pre-schools, secondary schools and children’s social care institutions. Food and nutrient-based standards exist for lunches (e.g. obligatory vegetable and fruit offering, “oil-boiled” foodstuffs, sweets and savoury pastry are prohibited), drinking water must be provided and soft drinks are prohibited.


In 2009, a regulation was passed banning soft drinks, including diet soft drinks, and unhealthy snacks from canteens of pre-elementary, elementary and secondary schools.


In August 2010, the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health issued a set of mandatory food and beverage guidelines for elementary schools for roll-out implementation 2011-2014. They were developed under the framework of the National Agreement for Healthy Nutrition. The guidelines promote the daily intake in schools of healthy foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and water; ban sodas; limit the availability of other soft drinks, whole milk, salty and sweet snacks, and desserts that comply with nutritional criteria to a maximum of two days per week; and prohibit completely the products that do not comply with the nutritional criteria. The Guidelines were updated in 2014. The revised Guidelines extend the standards to secondary schools, include recommendations for foods brought into schools from home, and increase the stringency of some of the nutrient criteria.


In March 2015, Health Directive No 063 “Promotion of Healthy Kiosks and School Canteens” was adopted. The Health Directive establishes recommendations for food provided in school kiosks and canteens, including the amount of energy to be supplied in lunches. School kiosks and canteens are evaluated twice a year at the regional level using a scorecard provided within the Health Directive. School kiosks and canteens that meet the indicators of the evaluation are graded as healthy and given a green pennant.


The 2006 Act on Food and Nutrition Safety (Journal of Laws, item 1225) was amended in November 2014 (Journal of Laws, item 1256) to include rules for sales, advertising and promotion of foods (based on a list of food categories) and nutrition standards for canteens in pre-schools, primary and secondary schools. The new regulation (Act of 28 November 2014 amending the act on food and nutrition safety), created by the Ministry of Health, outlines nutrition standards for foods and beverages intended for sale: ≤0.12 g sodium 100 g/mL of product, ≤10 g sugar/100 g/mL (except breakfast cereals ≤15 g sugar/100 g), and ≤10 g fat/100 g of product. The regulation also includes food category-specific restrictions. The new act came into effect 1 September 2015.


In 2011 the Health Promotion Board, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, launched the Healthy Meals in Schools Programme (HMSP), which was formerly the Model School Tuckshop Programme, launched in 2003. The programme enhances the availability of healthier food and beverage choices in schools through an integrated programme that involves teachers, canteen vendors and students. Canteen vendors from participating schools are expected to follow food service guidelines which aim to reduce the amount of saturated fat, sugar, and salt in school meals and make available whole-grains, fruits and vegetables as part of a balanced meal. The Health Promotion Board supports schools by organising culinary and nutrition training for canteen vendors (see “G” Give nutrition education and skills), and engages nutritionists and dietitians to assess participating schools to ensure compliance to the HMSP criteria. Educational resources are also provided as part of the programme to encourage students to eat a healthy diet. Revised food service guidelines came into effect 1 January 2016.



Legislation introduced in 2008 sets maximum amounts for sugar, fat and salt in foods sold in schools and pre-schools (Ministerial Order 1563/2008); the maximum levels amount to 15g sugar, 20g fat and 1.5g salt or 0.6g sodium per 100g of a food product. Soft drinks are prohibited and drinking water must be accessible.


All school meals must follow dietary guidelines as set out by Slovenia’s School Nutrition Law (2013). The Law is complemented by dietary guidelines (including a list of foods that are not recommended), recipe books, cross-curriculum nutrition education and food procurement standards available to all schools.


The Education Act came into force 1 July 2011 requiring school meals to be nutritious and free of charge.

The National Food Agency was commissioned to work with the Swedish National Agency of Education by the Ministry of Education and Research to develop school food guidelines. The Good School Meals guidelines, published in 2007 and revised in 2013, are for primary schools, secondary schools and youth recreation centres. The guidelines include age-specific reference values for energy and nutritional content in school lunches and portion sizes, and drinks are limited to water and milk. Ice cream, pastries and sweets are not provided by the school. The quality of school meals is monitored and assessed by an online tool (SkolmatSverige), and used by over three quarters of schools in Sweden.

United Arab Emirates

The School Canteen Guidelines for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi (2011/2012) are set and revised by a joint committee of representatives from the Abu Dhabi Education Council, the Abu Dhabi Health Authority and the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority. The Guidelines set out the requirements vendors must meet to obtain a license to operate in public and private school canteens. Parents may provide their children with their own packed meals as long as they are in line with the canteen guidelines. The Guidelines include calorie requirements for each grade, sample menus, a list of permissible and banned foods by category, and nutrient-based standards (e.g. limits on total fat and sugar content; minimum amounts of macro and micro nutrients). The standards restrict the serving of many energy-dense foods, soft drinks and fruit punch, as well as trans fats, mono-sodium glutamate (MSG), preservatives, colours and artificial flavours, caffeine and hot and spicy sauces.

United Kingdom

England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales have mandatory nutritional standards for all food served in schools, including breakfasts, snacks, lunches, and tuck shops. These standards apply to all state schools and restrict foods high in fat, salt and sugar, as well as low quality reformed or reconstituted foods. The standards are as follows:

− England: School Food Regulations 2014 (No. 1603), applicable to school lunches and food provided to students on school premises, came into force 1 January 2015 replacing the School Food Standards of 2007.

− Scotland: Nutritional Requirements for Food and Drink in Schools Regulations 2008, applicable to any food served in schools were introduced in primary schools in August 2008 and in secondary schools in August 2009.

− Northern Ireland: Nutritional Standards for School Lunches 2007, and Nutritional Standards for Other Food and Drinks in Schools 2008.

− Wales: Healthy Eating in Schools (Nutritional Standards and Requirements) Regulations 2013 (No. 1984 (W.194).

United States

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 sets nutrition standards in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. Implementation is scheduled for 2014. The Act also establishes guidelines for "competitive foods" in the Smart Snacks in School Program. Standards include limits on the amount of fat, saturated fat, salt and added sugars permitted in foods. Beverages are also restricted to water, low-fat or non-fat milk, or sugar. Calorie-free carbonated beverages are permitted in high schools.

There are also many state-level rules in place. Some states, including California and Colorado, have restrictions specific to trans fats. For example, in 2008, California adopted Senate Bill No. 1498 which prohibited, as of 1 July 2009, elementary, middle and high schools from making artificial trans fats available through vending machines or school food service establishments during school hours and up to 1/2 hour before and after school hours. In Colorado, Senate Bill 12-086 (2012) prohibits a public school or institute charter school from making available to a student a food item that contains any amount of industrially produced trans fat.

For example, Arizona, Rhode Island and Florida have bans on 'à la carte lines' in elementary schools. 17 other states have strict restrictions (e.g. specific lists of restricted foods or nutritional criteria) that apply at 'à la carte lines' in elementary schools. 15 states have strict restrictions on foods available at 'à la carte lines' in middle schools, while 11 states apply strict restrictions at high school level.

Arizona, District of Colombia, Florida and Texas have complete bans on school stores in elementary schools, and 13 states have strict restrictions on the foods available in stores in elementary schools. 11 states have strict restrictions on the foods available in school stores in middle schools, while 8 states apply restrictions at high school level.

For more details see link to "State Laws for School Snack Foods and Beverages" at end of page.


In September 2013, the government of Uruguay adopted Law No. 19,140 on “healthy eating in schools”. It mandated the Ministry of Health to develop standards for food available in canteens and kiosks in schools, prohibited advertising for these same foods, and restricted the availability of salt shakers. The school food standards were elaborated in March 2014 in two further documents: Regulatory Decree 60/014 and the “National Plan of Health Promoting Schools.” The standards aimed to promote foods with “natural nutritional value” with a “minimum degree of processing and to limit the intake of free sugars, saturated fat, trans fat and sodium. Limits are set per 100g of food, 100mL of drink and also per 50g portion. Prohibited foods include sugary beverages and energy drinks, confectionery, salty snacks, cakes and chocolate. The school food standards and restrictions on advertising began to be implemented in public schools in 2015 and are being monitored for compliance.


Vanuatu’s Sweet Drink Policy, introduced in October 2014 as part of the Vanuatu Health Promoting School Program and in the context of regulation order No 44 of 2005 on health and safety requirements in schools, came into effect on the first day of Term 1, 2015. The policy bans the sale, consumption and advertising of sugary drinks and instead promotes water, plain milk and fresh coconut water.

Mandatory standards for food available in schools and in their immediate vicinity South Korea

In 2010 the Special Act on the Safety Management of Children’s Dietary Life incorporated provisions to improve the nutritional quality of school meals and sets nutrition and food-based standards for other foods on sale in schools. Additionally, this Act establishes 'Green Food Zones', banning the sale of fast foods and soda within 200 metres of schools. The law was implemented in 2009-2010.

Voluntary guidelines for food available in schools Austria

The "Unser Schulbuffet" programme, launched in 2012, is overseen by the Ministry of Health. The programme provides guidelines for school canteens to follow, including restrictions to certain foods including fried products, sweet treats, crisps and savoury snacks, and also apply to vending machines. The guidelines are food-based and informed by the Austrian Food Pyramid. Beyond providing guidelines on nutritional aspects, the guidelines contain advice on the presentation and promotion of healthy options.

South Africa

These countries have voluntary guidelines for the food provided in schools – either as part of school meals or in other outlets, such as tuck shops. For example, Australia has National Healthy School Canteen guidance (2010) that is implemented at the discretion of states and territories, and South Africa has guidelines for food provided in school 'tuck shops'.


Flanders (2008) and Wallonia (2013) both have voluntary guidelines with food-based standards for foods available in schools, including restrictions on (deep) fried foods, sweet treats and soft drinks.


Mandatory standards are in place for the national school meal program in Brazil (see "Mandatory standards"). For "school canteens" – kiosks and stores where foods can be purchased for takeaway inside public schools – there are voluntary guidelines. The "Healthy Schools Canteens Manual," published by the Ministry of Health in 2010 contains voluntary guidelines for the operators of school canteens on how to promote healthy eating in canteens. In 2012, a self-learning course was made available to support canteen managers implement the manual, as part of the Cooperation Agreement signed by the Ministry of Health and the Private Schools National Federation. The Agreement sets out to plan, implement and evaluate strategies that promote health in private schools at a national level (particularly in the areas of healthy eating and the prevention of obesity related non-communicable diseases). A website monitors actions taken by schools and promotes learning between them.


In 2013, the Federal, Provincial and Territorial Group on Nutrition (FPTGN), a working group consisting of representatives from all Canadian provinces and territories, released a Guidance Document for the development of Nutrient Criteria for Foods and Beverages in Schools. The Guidance contains nutritional guidelines on foods served in schools, classing food products into four food groups – vegetables and fruit, grain products, milk and alternatives, meat and alternatives – and two categories – Choose Most Often and Choose Sometimes. The Guidelines suggest maximum levels for fat, sugar and salt, with the reference quantities being largely based on Health Canada’s Canada Food Guide. The Guidance is not mandatory, but is intended to guide the provinces and territories in their development of new and revision of existing school nutrition policies, and to support the food industry in developing and reformulating products sold in and to schools.

Hong Kong, SAR

In 2006, the government's Centre for Health Protection issued guidelines for tuck shop operators in primary schools, as well as parents and school personnel, to guide the types of food and drink items to be allowed and promoted in the school environment for the benefit of children's health. They were revised to include secondary schools in 2010.


In 2007 the Education Division of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Employment released Food and Beverage Standards for foods consumed in schools. The standards include nutrient-based guidelines for food and drink providers with limits for fats, sugar and salt per 100g or ml. The standards are mandatory in public schools and voluntary in most private schools, with public schools monitored for compliance.


In 2008 the Polish National Institute of Food and Nutrition issued School Food Guidelines that are recommended by the Ministry of Health. The guidelines set out nutrient-based standards for foods served in schools.


In 2011 the Health Promotion Board, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, launched the Healthy Meals in Schools Programme (HMSP), which was formerly the Model School Tuckshop Programme, launched in 2003. The programme enhances the availability of healthier food and beverage choices in schools through an integrated programme that involves teachers, canteen vendors and students. Canteen vendors from participating schools are expected to follow food service guidelines which aim to reduce the amount of saturated fat, sugar, and salt in school meals and make available whole-grains, fruits and vegetables as part of a balanced meal. The Health Promotion Board supports schools by organising culinary and nutrition training for canteen vendors (see “G” Give nutrition education and skills), and engages nutritionists and dietitians to assess participating schools to ensure compliance to the HMSP criteria.Educational resources are also provided as part of the programme to encourage students to eat a healthy diet. Revised food service guidelines came into effect 1 January 2016.



In 2011 the Spanish Parliament approved a Law on Nutrition and Food Safety (Ley 17/2011) that prevents kindergartens and schools from selling foods and beverages high in saturated fat, trans fat, salt and sugar. To determine foods and drinks allowed in schools, including products available in vending machines, Regional Authorities can use recommended nutritional criteria outlined in the 2010 Consensus document on food in education centers.


Some local authorities have voluntary guidelines that recommend restrictions on the availability of sugar-sweetened beverages on school premises.

Bans specific to vending machines in schools Australia

In February 2014, the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) government announced the removal of vending machines from ACT public schools. The 2015 Australia Capital Territory’s Public School Food and Drink Policy prohibits food and drink vending machines on public school premises.


In 2006 the Healthy Schools Vending Machine and Cafeteria Policy was implemented banning sodas and snacks from vending machines on school premises. Only plain, unsweetened water and/or 100% fruit juice is permitted.


As part of the Public Health Act (Law No. 2004-806, Article 30) (2004), vending machines containing drinks and snacks are not allowed in schools (implemented 1 September 2005). Fruit and bottled water must be made available.


A ban on vending machines on school premises was adopted in 2010 (since incorporated into the 2013 School Nutrition Law). It was introduced to reduce consumption of unhealthy foods, but also to decrease possible marketing space on the exterior of vending machines.

United States

Arkansas, the District of Columbia, Florida, Indiana and Texas have had bans on vending machines in elementary schools since 2008/2009.

13 states have restrictions (either lists specifying restricted foods or nutritional criteria) on the content of vending machines in middle schools. 9 states have restrictions that apply in high schools.

(See link to State Laws for School Snack Foods and Beverages at end of page)

Standards in social support programmes Bermuda

Since 2008, Healthy Schools has partnered with a charity who provides healthy breakfasts to at-risk school-age children. The milk served in this programme must be low in fat.

For more information about Healthy Schools see "Mandatory standards for food available in schools, including restrictions on unhealthy foods" (above).


In order to support government efforts to reduce obesity, Liconsa, the government-owned company that purchases and distributes the subsidised milk to low-income households, switched two-thirds of its milk supply to low-fat milk in 2013.

United States

In January 2015, the Healthy Food Banking Wellness Policy was adopted and put into effect by the Community Action Partnership of San Bernardino County (CAPSBC). The policy aims to increase the amount of healthy, nutritious and locally grown food obtained and provided by the CAPSBC Food Bank, which provides emergency food to agencies throughout the county. The Healthy Food Banking Wellness Policy provides guidelines to help with the procurement of healthful food, including fruits and vegetables (fresh or canned with no sugar added), whole grains, low-fat, unsweetened dairy products, protein (lean meats, eggs, nuts, seeds, pulses), healthy beverages (water, 100% juice and low-fat, unsweetened milk or milk substitutes) and where possible, locally produced food. The policy has resulted in a significant increase in the amount of produce procured.

Standards in other specific locations (e.g. health facilities, workplace) Australia

As part of the National Partnership Agreement on Preventive Health, the Australian Department of Health launched the Healthy Workers initiative in 2009, with secured funding until 2018. Most of the funding is allocated to state and territory governments to support health promotion activities in the workplace. Healthy Workers focuses on improving workplace health by various means, including the decrease of overweight and obesity and the increase of vegetable and fruit consumption.


In 2008, the Government Vending Machine Policy was implemented in government offices and facilities to ensure access to healthy snacks and beverages for staff. The policy requires that all food and beverages in vending machines on government premises meet specific criteria based on levels of total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, sodium and sugar. The criteria exclude nuts and 100% fruit juices.


In 2012, the government set salt levels for all foods served in hospitals and long-term social care institutions. Levels may not exceed 1.25g of salt per 100g of food product; fish products may contain up to 1.5g of salt per 100g of product. The standards also apply to educational institutions (see above).


Government Decree 564/2003 on "supporting meals at universities" requires meals to meet specific nutritional criteria in order to quality for government subsidies. Nutrition recommendations were first published in 2003, revised in 2008 and updated in 2011. The Finnish National Nutrition Council and KELA, the Social Insurance Institution of Finland jointly set the updated recommendations. They include compulsory meal components, nutritional criteria for all meal components (total fat, saturated fat, salt, fibre), consumer advice and guidance for healthy choices, rotation of menus, number of meals that have to meet the criteria for nutritional quality and criteria adherence guidelines. The updated nutrition recommendations came into effect 1 January 2013.

New Zealand

Local public health service units oversee the WorkWell programme, launched in 2011. WorkWell helps businesses improve their employees’ health by supporting the improvement of the working environment and organisational systems. It includes a focus on healthy eating by providing companies with the WorkWell for Healthy Eating Toolkit. The Toolkit contains a step-by-step approach, including how to write a healthy eating policy for the company and ideas to change the food environment at the workplace (for example providing drinking water and low-fat milk, changing the caterer to a healthier option). Other tools provided are Guidelines for workplace vending machines, Guidelines for snack boxes, Food ideas for work meetings and Drinking water guidelines.


The National Workplace Health Promotion Programme, launched in 2000, is run by the Health Promotion Board. Both private and public institutions are encouraged to improve the workplace environment by providing tools and grants. Grants are awarded to help companies start and sustain health promotion programmes. Tools include a sample Healthy Workplace Nutrition Policy, a sample Healthy Workplace Catering Policy, and a detailed Essential Guide to Workplace Health, setting out ways to transform the workplace into a health-supporting work environment by providing a guide on how to improve the nutritional environment in the work place (for example training for canteen providers, engaging a nutritionist).

United Kingdom

Vending machines dispensing crisps, chocolate and sugary drinks are prohibited in National Health Service hospitals in Wales. The Welsh government issued a guidance defining what is allowed and not allowed, and has liaised with major vending providers to find ways to introduce healthier food and drink options (Health Promoting Hospital Vending Directions and Guide 2008). In 2008, the Scottish government issued guidelines to chief executives of the National Health Service on the provision of competitively priced fruit and vegetables in hospital settings and the removal of all soft drinks with a sugar content greater than 0.5g per 100ml (pure fruit juice is exempt).

United States

New York City’s Food Standards (enacted with Executive Order 122 of 2008, revised in 2014) set nutritional standards for all food purchased or served by city agencies, which applies to prisons, hospitals and senior care centres. The Standards include: maximum and minimum levels of nutrients per serving; standards on specific food items (e.g. only no-fat or 1% milk); portion size requirements; the requirement that water be offered with food; a prohibition on the deep-frying of foods; and daily calorie and nutrient targets, including population-specific guidelines (e.g. children, seniors). As of 2015, 11 city agencies are subject to the NYC Food Standards, serving and selling almost 250 million meals a year. The Food Policy Coordinator has the responsibility of ensuring adherence with the Food Standards. Self-reported compliance with the standards is 96%. New York City’s Health Code also contains regulations on sweetened beverages and 100% fruit juices served in children’s camps and children’s day care centres. In camps, beverages containing caffeine, artificial sweeteners and non-nutritive sweeteners are banned, and maximum calorie levels and serving portions set. In day care centres, drinks with added artificial and natural sweeteners are banned, and children may only be served a maximum of 4 ounces (118ml) of 100% juice per day; children younger than 2 years of age do not receive juice.

New York City has also issued the New York State Food Purchasing Guidelines to encourage city agencies to procure food products that are grown, produced or harvested in New York State. The Guidelines apply to any solicitation of a value of more than $100,000. They may grant a bid to a bidder whose price is up to 10% higher than the one offered by the lowest responsive, responsible bidder’s price for food not from New York State. They may also mandate that certain products must be procured from New York State.

Based on Executive Order 509 (2009), the Massachusetts State Agency Food Standards set standards per category for all food purchased by state agencies and their contractors. The Standards include targets for nutrient requirements, including guidelines for specific populations (i.e. children, elderly). The Standards contain a ban on trans fat and deep-frying, and maximum levels of sodium in foods and calorie levels of beverages. They are applicable to food served to agencies’ clients and patients (i.e. hospitals, prisons, child care services); food served for sale, and to agencies’ employees is excluded.


Table last updated: 07/03/2016

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A number of other organisations also provide access to policy databases. Some are listed below:

WHO Global Database on the Implementation of Nutrition Action

WHO Europe Database on Nutrition, Obesity and Physical Activity

United States
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation – State Laws for School Snack Foods and Beverages
The Rudd Center for Food and Obesity – Legislation Database
National Association of State Boards of Education – State School Health Policy Database
National Cancer Institute – Classification of Laws Associated with School Students
Centers for Disease Control – Chronic Disease State Policy Tracking System

Prevention Policies Directory