Lewis Diuguid

Junk food in school to be distant memory

After more than a decade of looking the other way, the government finally has stepped in to get junk food out of vending machines at schools.

For the first time, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is letting schools know what kinds of snacks they can sell. The rules announced last week will help trim the fat, salt and sugar from the vending machines and America’s children.

Schools, facing years of cutbacks in funding for education, in the last 20 years turned to vending machines for a little extra cash. They were stocked with sugary sodas, cookies, candy bars, chips and other things that kids crave. Children’s appetites help provide schools with new revenue.

The federal rules will close the curtain on that practice and on the most unhealthy foods. However, granola bars, low-fat tortilla chips and fruit cups will still make it into the machines.

The guidelines go into place in the 2014-2015 school year so there is still time for kids to load up.