The canteen at SRAI BBB is probably not as bad as the sweeping statement the NST article below seems to make.
But a lot of what are being sold there are stuffs that my wife and I have been trying hard to avoid for our sons.
Especially the sweets and the candies. One of the illegal traders in front of the school told me that I should advise my sons not to buy such things. Things that he sold on a daily basis just outside of the front gate.
The man with the hat told me to advise my children not to buy junk food, which he sells in front of the school almost daily.
Of course my wife and I advise our sons. But they are underage, not yet akil baligh. All these school children are 12 and under.
Appetizing Satay Bakar which is actually some kind of dried bean curd.
When you keep dangling all these junk food in front of their noses while the parents are not there, what do you expect the children to do?
Nestlé® Ice Cream is probably one of the most popular item.
Perhaps, these traders don’t mind if their own children eat these stuff all day everyday, but I do about my children.
Anything you can sell, sell!
I don’t mind the traders, legal and illegal, making a living selling food, so long they are healthy food. But some of the food, especially those sold by the illegal traders, are not healthy food. Some of the food are not even food. They are actually over-priced junk toys that come as part of the package with very little junk food.
We can’t put all the blame on the teachers and the school management, because they already got their hands full.
But I know at least one parent already defended those illegal traders at the PTA AGM, saying that they are just trying to earn a living.
Stringent rules aside, some students also would bring to school home-cooked food that happened to be all that sweet, fried, and oily stuff.
So what do we do?
NST Online » Focus
TAN CHOE CHOE and ANIZA DAMIS
School canteens are serving food which is anything but healthy. The Health Ministry intends to teach children to make the right choices, write TAN CHOE CHOE and ANIZA DAMIS
FRIED chicken, french fries, sickly sweet jeruk buah (preserved fruits), chocolates, carbonated drinks and ice cream.
These are some of the more common food found in our school canteens today and the Health Minister is “not happy with it.”
“I know children like fried and sweet stuff but they’re very harmful,” said Datuk Liow Tiong Lai.
“I’m going to re-look the school canteen menu personally.
“Our children are not eating the right food.”
Liow said he was also considering making use of the food served in school canteens to teach children to make the right food choices.
“I want to make sure that when children eat in school canteens, they are also taught how to choose what’s right for them to eat and what is the meaning of a balanced diet–that it should have enough carbohydrates, protein, fats, minerals and vitamins.”
A nutritionist by training, Liow said his Ministry had previously been preoccupied with ensuring the safety and cleanliness of food prepared by school canteen operators.
“We want to have a clean environment and we’ve achieved that. So the next thing we’re going into is the (food) content.”
There is a list of allowed foods under the School Canteen Guidelines that the canteen operators can sell but Liow said the enforcement is largely up to the schools.
“Actually, we have routine monitoring of hygiene and the food of canteens but we don’t have enough enforcement. We leave it to the school to do self-inspection.”
Dubbed Program Kendiri, the school canteen self-inspection programme is supposedly a “pro-active approach that schools can take to continuously inspect their food handlers as well as the content of food served.”
But it was reported in the New Sunday Times last July that some canteen operators were openly flouting the canteen guidelines, according to a study conducted by Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia in 2004.
The study, which looked at 12 schools in the Klang Valley, found that the majority of food served in their canteens was fried and oily.
Nasi lemak, nasi goreng and stir-fried noodles are common staple meals while fried chicken, burgers, nuggets and french fries were sold in all but one school.
Sweet stuff like carbonated drinks, jeruk buah, chocolates, creamy biscuits and ice cream are also hot favourites among students.
With the exception of carbonated drinks, all these sweet stuff are prohibited under the canteen guidelines.
World Medical Association president Datuk Dr N. Arumugam told Bernama last year that unhealthy food beverages prepared by school canteen operators contributed to obesity among children.
“Children love tasty food, which has a lot of oil and beverages where the sugar content is high.”
Dr Arumugam had called on the authorities to look into the situation then, which he felt if left unchecked could lead to bigger health problems.
Looking at the alarming figures of overweight children in the country, Liow conceded that “maybe we (Health Ministry) should be more stringent”.
Statistics has shown that some 30 per cent of our children are obese, and that diabetes is on the rise among teenagers between the ages of 13 and 19.
Liow said he was also concerned about the amount of processed food our children are eating.
“Too much processed food will give us indigestion.
“I’m going to look at all the additives, artificial flavouring and colouring (if any) used in the preparation of food in school canteens.”
“We have to make adjustments We have to teach our children what to eat and how to eat right.”
Liow has three children, aged 10, 14 and 18. And they, like him, are vegetarians.
“They bring food from home to school because I’d rather they eat home-cooked food.”
He said his children are not tempted to eat fast-food because they have been are taught from young the value of eating lots of vegetables and grains, which are either steamed or boiled.