Should Schools Sell Junk Food?

Schools should not sell junk food, based on the USDA’s ban on nutritionally unsound foods. The online publication Serious Eats reports that as part of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, nutritional standards in schools are in the midst of improvement as of 2013 in cafeterias and school vending machines.

The major focus to cease selling junk food is because of concerns with childhood obesity as well as rising obesity rates throughout the nation. In the efforts, granola bars and juices are replacing candy bars and sodas. Some are in disagreement, however, such as author David H. Freedman. Serious Eats mentions that Freedman believes fast food companies have already offered lower calorie “junk food” choices to their menus and that schools and other eateries do the same.

For some, the junk food ban has not made a difference, whereas others feel it does not necessarily solve the issue of obesity. According to, many kids are also eating junk food at home. Schools are also having issues noting the definition of "junk food," with some considering candy as junk, while other types of snack foods might be permitted. also notes that fundraisers, which include bake sales and candy sales, are another issue that schools need to resolve.

At the same time, states that some dislike what they consider excessive government interference in dictating what types of foods people should be allowed to eat.

At the state level in 2006, New Jersey’s acting governor, Richard Codey, told Scholastic Magazine that he was pleased New Jersey would ban junk foods. Codey was concerned with childhood obesity and was glad the state was the first in the nation to ban junk foods in school.

John Dively from the Illinois Principal’s Association told Scholastic that schools should not ban junk food before clarifying what types of foods that term includes. He also said that communities and not the government should be permitted to control the schools and make their own decisions.