Several food items, including the popular bulla cake, will be affected by the collaborative effort of the ministries of education and health to remove products high in sugar content from local schools as part of a campaign to promote healthier eating among students.
Education Minister Ruel Reid made the announcement while addressing yesterday's final day of the three-day Jamaica Teachers' Association's (JTA) 54th annual conference in Montego Bay, St James.
"Only two per cent of our schools have their own canteens, so Nutrition Products Limited will be reorganised to support the delivery of lunches by providing the resources, or material, for you to provide the meals, only in those schools that don't have canteens," Reid told school administrators.
"Bullas and all those things will be withdrawn, generally, from the market, and it (approved food items) has to be whatever products are very much consistent with the Government's nutrition policy. In terms of sugar content, the manufacturers will get a standard they will have to operate with."
Since 1973, Nutrition Products Limited has been providing public schools with meal items, including bulla cakes and bag juices, under the education ministry's portfolio.
In a short presentation before Reid spoke, Minister of Health Dr Christopher Tufton appealed to the JTA delegates to support the overall effort to promote a healthier lifestyle and dietary choices in their schools.
"The ministries of education and health will have to get all the critical stakeholders, teachers being part of that, to help us provide the guidance necessary to our young people as the first line of defence to combat lifestyle ailments," said Tufton.
He continued: "An announcement was made around sugary drinks in schools and the introduction of the Jamaica Moves programme, starting in the next school year. The message from you is going to be absolutely critical in supporting the success of this new programme that we will embark on as part of the preventative approach to health care."