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Clinton’s Nutrition Deal Cuts Junk Food on School Menu

Clinton’s Nutrition Deal with five giant snack makers has come to an agreement to discourage schools from stocking vending machines //with snacks high in calories, sugar fat, and salt. While lauded by some as a good effort, others criticized it as toothless.

The companies, , Mars Inc., Kraft Foods Inc., Campbell Soup Co., PepsiCo Inc. and Dannon agreed to begin the promotion of snacks that meet new nutrition guidelines backed by the American Heart Association.

As Clinton acknowledged, ``This is voluntary, they don't have to do it,'' speaking of the companies and the schools. ``But they recognize the challenge we face and they are helping us take the first step.''

Certain the companies that make everything from M&M's, yogurt and granola bars to Frito-Lay potato chips would have to reformulate some products or introduce new lines of healthier snacks for children.

Others will be urging schools to buy healthy, rather than cater to student cravings.

Some of the items that are to be banned are fatty, extra-salty soups, calorie-ladden candy bars, and any other snack that contains trans fats. Low-fat chips (baked, not fried) and low-sugar yogurts will be in.

Clinton announced this initiative in a high school gymnasium in Harlem but admitted that plan's success would mainly depend on the participation of schools, which will continue to be free to buy whatever they like.

However he opined that the nation's childhood obesity epidemic and rising health care costs made immediate action essential.

Janey Thornton, president of the School Nutrition Association and a child nutrition director in Kentucky, commended the program but warned that it should not be seen as a substitute for federal legislation enacting stronger health standards for school food.

She said, ``It has to have some enforcement behind it. We have some pretty strict regulations here in Kentucky, but some states have none, and
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