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Western Australia Bans Ham And Cheese Sandwiches From School Canteens

A school lunchbox staple, the ham and cheese sandwich, has been banned in Western Australian school canteens after a review of its healthy eating policy.

Since 2008, the state has been using a traffic light system, where foods are categorised as green for nutritious, amber for occasional or red for junk.

Food labelled ‘red’ is banned from sale. New recommendations have classified ham as ‘red’, along with sausage rolls.

Previously, ham and cheese toasties were rated green, while a plain ham sandwich was classified as amber.

WA School Canteen Association chief executive Megan Sauzier told The West Australian that although she understands why ham has been banned, she did not believe the decision to be in the best interest of schools.

"We've already made lots of headway because schools don't have salami and mortadella, and we don't have deep-fried chips, we have no soft drink, no confectionery — do we need to get rid of ham as well? I'm not sure.”

She has also called for an extended transition period to give schools more time to implement the changes.

Education Department deputy director-general Jim Bell told The West Australian that although some amber foods have been reclassified to red, “this does not represent a ban on these reclassified foods”.

“It signals that there are healthier choices that can be made, although these foods can still be sold as long as the menu is still made up of 60 percent of foods rated as green.”

He added that the new policy was to assist canteens in promoting healthy options without restricting popular items or comprising the school’s profit.