As many states and school districts adopt healthy measures and cut trans fats in regular lunches, Colorado is about to introduce a policy that would be considered the nation's toughest ban on unhealthy fats in school foods.
In a bill that would put pizza, french fries and other childhood favorites under threat, the state legislature's potential ban is sweeping. The ban would apply to school lunches, school breakfasts, a la carte side items and vending machines and will hit margarine, vegetable shortening and other traditional trans fats hardest.
Sponsors said high rates of childhood obesity call for extra measures to limit fats, writes Kirsten Wyatt at the Associated Press
House Education Committee chairman, Tom Massey, said:
"Colorado is one of the healthiest states but has one of the highest rates of childhood obesity. So if we're going to do something about that, this is a step in the right direction."
Delaware has a stringent trans-fats ban in schools, but theirs falls short of school breakfasts. Six other states considered trans-fats bans but decided otherwise. New York and other states are considering the move that, up until now, seems too rich for some.
One of Colorado's most prominent anti-obesity groups, LiveWell Colorado, supports the premise of the bill but falls short of fully endorsing it. They're concerned that school won't be ready to enact one of the most stringent bans by the fall.
LiveWell's vice president of policy, Lisa Walvoord, said:
"You don't change this overnight."
Walvoord believes more people might support the Colorado effort if schools were given more time.
A spokeswoman for the state Education Department, Janelle Asmus, said:
A department review "found the amount of trans fat in a school meal to be minimal" but added that "the review didn't include items for sale in vending machines and after-school activities such as bake sales."