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Junk Food Ban Gone Too Far? Seattle Schools Think So

Students are buying Seattle school's healthy vending options, leading to a significant loss in funds that support school activities like clubs and sports.

granola bar

Photo: Matt McKimmy (flickr)

Seattle schools have some of the most restrictive vending machine rules -- granola bars, water and juice are nearly the only allowed items.

One unintended consequence of removing junk food from school vending machines — loss of money.

Seattle is toying with the idea of selectively adding snacks back into their high school vending machines. The snacks will still have to meet certain guidelines involving fat and sugar.

Seattle enacted a tough junk food ban in 2004 — granola, water, juice and little else is allowed in vending machines.

Students aren’t buying it — literally. The school says it has lost hundreds of thousands of dollars its associated student body used to fund school activities like sports and dance.

Initially the school board agreed to make up lost revenue from the vending machines after they went healthy, but the recession stopped that plan in its tracks.

Seattle School Board president Michael DeBell didn’t look at easing the restrictions as a negative consequence.

“If the students aren’t finding the offerings to their liking, then we’re not really meeting that goal of having them choose healthier foods,” he says.

Read More:

  • Losing money, Seattle schools may ease ban on junk foods (MSNBC)
  • School Board May Relax Vending Machine Rules (KUOW)
Liz Leslie

Liz Leslie is a journalist based in Chicago. When she's not writing about food, she's likely eating food. Or dreaming about food.

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  • DanielTourtillott

    This is what happens when you tie funds together, just like the cigarette tax which is 5-6 dollars a pack, they want people to stop smoking, but they also have become dependent on that tax revenue.
    Seattle is full of progressives who don’t consider unintended consequences.
    Everything they do sounds great, but they way they go about it is almost fascist, I’m getting the hell out of this shit hole, beautiful city. The resident here are petty vindictiveassive aggressive wimps.

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