The Knesset Labor and Welfare Committee on Monday authorized for its second and third reading a law that will implement state supervision of school lunches. The law, sponsored by MK Rachel Azaria, will monitor nutrition levels of lunches eaten by over 400,000 children.
“For many children, the lunch that children receive at school or afterschool programs is their main meal of the day,” said Azaria. “As such it behooves us to ensure that those meals are healthy ones.”
The law will require the Health Ministry to set criteria for healthy lunches, and publish them for contractors who supply the meals. The contractors will have to comply with the criteria, or put their contracts up for tender. Among the expected criteria are likely to be less use of saturated fats in meals, a reduction in the use of sugar and salt, an emphasis on fresh fruits and vegetables, and a balance between proteins and carbohydrates.
Most of the meals are served to children from difficult socio-economic backgrounds, many of whom attend afterschool programs. There are some 100 private contractors supplying the meals.