Butter ban by some Stockholm schools a disconcerting precedent?

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 22nd October 2012

School parents in Stockholm, Sweden, have been reported to be angry after some schools banned butter from canteens “to adhere to Sweden’s National Food Agency guidelines.”

The schools have said that butter was banned to meet tight regulations for nutritious foods in schools. Some of the schools have replaced butter from the menu have replaced it with the margarine Becel, owned by Unilever, as an alternative.

Many parents as well as some Swedish health experts such as Goran Petersson from Chalmers University in Western Sweden, have questioned the need for the ban.

School canteen regulations in Australia

The Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing also has National Guidelines for healthy foods and drinks supplied in school canteens. The guidelines contain ‘green,’ ‘amber’ and ‘red’ coded foods to specify whether they are healthy to be sold in a healthy school canteen.

The National guidelines say that foods and drinks categorised as ‘red’ are not consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Children and Adolescents in Australia and should not be sold in a healthy school canteen. The ‘red’ foods are described as being either low in nutritional value or high in saturated fat and/or added sugar and/or added sodium (salt), or may also provide excess energy (kilojoules).

Butter is listed in the ‘red’ section of the guidelines. The Australian Government guidelines say that “there is ample opportunity for children to consume these foods outside school hours at the discretion of their parents.”