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New Guidelines For Healthy food items in school canteens in UAE

New Guidelines For Healthy food items in school canteens in UAENew school canteen guidelines have been released in the . Such guidelines include removing several items from the menu of the canteen such as chips, crisps, ice cream, chocolates, and hotdogs. The latest guidelines were approved by the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA) along with the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC), and the guidelines will be activated starting from next September.

Mohamed Jalal Al Reyaysa, director of public relations and communications at the ADFCA, said “All schools are bound to comply with these guidelines with immediate effect,” This new guidelines come as a part of the continuous efforts to enhance and promote children’s health by practicing healthy eating habits at school, along with conducting physical activities.

Statistics from The Ministry of Health (MoH) in UAE show that about 20% of children at schools aging between 8 and 12 are currently overweight. The reasons for the high rate are including improper food options offered to children in school canteens. Moreover, other studies show that between school children aging between 5-14 years, 60% are having daily consumptions of chips and chocolates, while they consume only 28 and 23.2% daily of vegetables and fruits respectively. The new guidelines are coping with such data. Therefore, several items such as soft drinks and junk food with high fat levels like sausages, hotdogs, shawarma, and burgers will not be sold in school canteens. However, several other items will continue to be sold after following required conditions, among these items are butter-free popcorn, while rice and pasta.

Al Reyaysa noted that the new guidelines will “guarantee provision of healthy and good food to the pupils by demanding adherence to the standards and specifications with regards to hygiene, the types of food that are allowed to be served to the pupils and other food-related conditions that all school canteens must meet without fail”.

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