Students returning to Texas schools in the fall hoping to find fried foods and soda on the lunch menu may be disappointed, as large schools will keep healthy cafeterias despite changing rules allowing the sale and distribution of those foods.
Texas Agricultural Commissioner Sid Miller recently announced that a ten year ban on fried foods and soda machines would be repealed as part of a new policy calling for more local foods. The new guidelines also encourage community support and training in support of schools serving meals that are “attractive and taste great.”
Many of the large districts are not enthusiastic about Miller’s change in policy after ten years.
“Despite the reversal, we believe the healthy changes that have been made to our school menus remain in the best interest of our students,” said Melissa Martinez, a spokeswoman for the El Paso school district. “It also would be cost prohibitive to retrofit all of our kitchens with deep fryers.”
Some of the state’s biggest school districts will not serve fried foods or soda. These include Dallas, Houston, Fort Worth, and Austin, among others.
“We removed our deep fat fryers more than a decade ago, and we have no desire to bring them back,” said André Riley a spokesman for the Dallas district.
Schools will be permitted to sell fatty foods and sodas at fundraisers up to six times a year, and those fundraisers may be held during school hours.