Concern with sugar laden fundraising - possible ban



School chocolates for fundraising face ban over obesity concerns

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CHOCOLATE bars are out. Cactuses, bonsai and long- distance walks are in.

Traditional school fund-raisers such as doughnuts, cake stalls and sweet treats could be banned under a proposal by the Federation of Parents and Citizens Association.

They want schools to focus on “non-food” events such as garden sales, walk-a-thons, “Olympic-type events” and other outdoor activities rather than the “food-centred - approach” to fundraising.

Cadbury is a major supplier of school fundraising chocolate.

The recommendation is contained in a submission to a NSW upper house parliamentary inquiry into the childhood obesity epidemic, which is hoping to find practical solutions to the soaring weight of school-aged children.

Despite schools being forced to resort to fundraising to secure vital funds to carry out school initiatives, the use of chocolate bars and other sweet items such as doughnuts should be replaced with healthy options, it said.

“Schools and P&C Associations can reconsider fundraising,” it said.

“Currently, many food-based fundraising involves unhealthy foods (chocolates, doughnuts, etc).

“Many P&C Associations are now more focused on healthy options or fundraising that is removed from food-centred approaches. Selling plants is an alternative to selling chocolates.”

It is not the first time the P&C has called for a ban on sweets being used in fundraising drives, with a similar call made more than a decade ago.

Plants would replace chocolates as fundraisers.

However, school Facebook sites show the P&C has continued to rely on treats to raise funds such as a “chocolate drive” held at Cherrybrook Public School earlier this year, which charged $60 per box.

Cadbury is one of the biggest suppliers of fundraising chocolate in Australia, with the company claiming to be contacted by about 40,000 individuals and organisations each year to access its sweets for sale.

A Cadbury spokeswoman said its treats had a role to play in fundraising initiatives while giving pleasure to consumers.

“We know that people get pleasure from treats and that they have a part to play our consumers’ wellbeing,” she said. “We recognise the issue of obesity and take a commonsense approach to being part of the solution.

Yates argues seeds can be sold direct or planted in pots before being resold once grown.

“We recommend our products are enjoyed as part of a healthy diet and a balanced lifestyle, and do a range of things to help people consume our products mindfully.”

Leading garden supply firm Yates is already taking advantage of the marketing opportunity by offering a “healthier way” to raise funds through its boxes of seed packets.

Hoping to displace chocolate as the first fundraising choice, Yates argues seeds can be sold direct or planted in pots before being resold once grown.

Shannon Scicluna, 14, along with classmates from Xavier College, are selling chocolates to raise money so the school can build an undercover area on their grounds.

Her mum Liz Scicluna, from Lethbridge Park, said it would be difficult to imagine getting the same results from selling healthier options.

“The kids have put boxes everywhere they can from the uniform shop to walking around at Saturday sports.”


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