The Department of Agriculture's announcement that it intends "to ban the sale of junk foods" from schools until after the final lunch period probably won't satisfy many people.
The only items which could no be sold, if the proposed regulation takes effect, would be candy, chewing gum, soda pop and some frozen desserts. Ice cream is excluded from the ban. This would leave snacks such as potato chips, corn chips, pretzels, imitation fruit drinks and fruit-flavored drinks, just to mention a few, still available for sale before during lunch period.
Asked why these other foods were no included in the proposal, a USDA spokesman said: "Because we thought those were in a more questionable area. We went right up to the last minute on whether ot not to request comments on other foods and we decided no to."
Tim Farley, who runs the Milwaukee school lunch program, considered one of the most nutritious and successful in the United States, says the USDA porposal is "weak." He is concerned that it will wipe out stronger local bans, like the one which is in effect in Milwaukee. In that city: "No food or beverage of any kind other than those provided by the School Food Services Division shall be sold to students in Milwaukee Public School buildings between the hours of 8 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. on regular school days."
On the other side, the candy and soft drink industries are wondering why their products are being singled out while others would be permitted.
The public has until June 9 to comment on the proposed regulations to Hearing Clerk Room 12A Administration Building USDA, Washington, D.C. 20250.