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Health and Wellbeing > Smart Choices > Frequently Asked Questions >

Implementing Smart Choices

Q: What support is available to help tuckshops implement Smart Choices?

A: The Queensland Association of School Tuckshops and Nutrition Australia have a range of resources and services available to help tuckshops such as fact sheets, newsletters, buyers guides, advisory service, and trade expos.

More information is available from QAST or on 07 3324 1511 or Nutrition Australia External Link on 07 3257 4393.

Q: How often can we serve foods and drinks in the AMBER category?

A: Foods and drinks in the AMBER category are not restricted in how often they can be supplied. However, as these foods and drinks are mainly processed, with some sugar, salt or fat added to them, they shouldn't dominate the menu at the expense of healthier choices. It is recommended that you limit the serve size of AMBER foods and drinks and choose products that contain reduced levels of saturated fat, salt or sugar when compared to regular products. Schools may choose to limit the supply of some AMBER foods to only certain days of the week.

Q: Does food cooked at home and sold in the tuckshop need to be consistent with Smart Choices?

A: Food cooked at home and offered for sale through the tuckshop needs to be consistent with the GREEN and AMBER categories of Smart Choices.

While it is not an encouraged practice to be providing home cooked food in tuckshops there are instances where this may be necessary and safe practices need to be complied with in the preparation and transporting of food items.

The types of foods which might be cooked at home and sometimes provided for sale through the school tuckshop include baked products like cakes, biscuits, slices and muffins, and dishes such as lasagne, stir-fries, fried rice, chilli con carne, savoury mince, and curries.

As food is being prepared at home and not part of a commercial business, it is not an expectation that home cooked food is nutritionally analysed.

To ensure that foods are consistent with Smart Choices schools can:

Q: Are there any food safety regulations I need to be aware of when cooking food at home for sale in the school tuckshop?

A: Yes, schools and parents/caregivers should be aware of food safety in relation to selling food cooked from home. All food must be handled to ensure it is safe for sale; this includes preparation, cooking, storage and transportation. Hot savoury dishes are high risk foods compared to baked products such as cakes and biscuits and need to be handled carefully.

The overseer of the food business is responsible for ensuring the sale of safe food; this will be the tuckshop convenor in most cases. Contact your local Queensland Health Population Health Unit for more advice on food safety. Contact details are available on page 55 of the Smart Choices Tool Kit.

Q: How does the Smart Choices Strategy affect classroom rewards?

A: Food rewards provided to students must comply with the Smart Choices Strategy, including food vouchers. Activities and rewards consistent with the strategy will also support the school curriculum.

Rewarding with confectionery or sugar sweetened drinks sends the wrong message and reinforces the RED foods which are already being consumed frequently and excessively by children and young people. Use other rewards such as certificates and recognition in school newsletters.

Q: Do fundraising activities such as chocolate and pie drives have to comply with the Smart Choices Strategy?

A: Yes, food and drinks used for fundraising events must comply with the 'Occasional' Food and Drink Criteria outlined in the strategy.

As chocolates and most pies would fall into the RED category they could only be used if the fundraising event was one of the two designated occasions during the term.

Schools are encouraged to consider fundraising options that promote health and wellbeing. These could include seasonal fruits eg. mangoes, freeze dried fruits, toothbrushes, healthy food cookbooks, sunblock, nursery products. Tips on healthy fundraising are available on page 28 of the Smart Choices@school events tool kit Adobe PDF document2.4M.

Q: Will tuckshop profits decrease as a result of implementing the Smart Choices Strategy?

A: It is often assumed that students will not buy healthier food and drinks from the tuckshop, and as a result it will lose business. However, students will buy healthy food and drinks when available, when they are promoted well, and when they have been involved in the decisions about what is sold. Students will keep coming back to the tuckshop if the food looks and tastes great.

There are many healthier alternatives to foods in the RED category that tuckshops can sell. Vending machines stocking water, fruit juice, milk and healthy snacks will still make a profit.

Q: How does GST classification impact on food and drink classification under Smart Choices?

A: The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) classifies food and drinks based on tax law to determine if the food is eligible to include the Good and Services Tax (GST). This classification system used by the ATO does not include specific nutrient criteria.

The Smart Choices Strategy classifies food and drink as Green, Amber or Red according to specific nutrition criteria. The ATO GST classification and the Smart Choices nutrient classification are mutually exclusive. That is food and drinks may be classified under different food categories in each system.

Q: Can we have more than one RED occasion on the same day? For example, can we have a disco, class party and cake stall on the same day that all involve RED food and drinks.

A: You cannot have three RED occasions (eg. disco, class party and cake stall) either on a specific day, or across the term. You can have no more than two RED occasions per term. These occasions can be on the same day or spread across the term. There are many ways to make special occasions compliant with Smart Choices by offering GREEN and AMBER foods and drinks. If you offer only GREEN or AMBER foods and drinks on your special occasions, you can have as many of these occasions as you like. Tips on how to make your events, such as sporting carnivals, barbecues, celebrations or fundraising, Smart Choices compliant can be found in the Smart Choices@school events tool kit Adobe PDF document2.4M.

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This page was last reviewed on 23 Sep 2015

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