3 school canteens fail to meet health guidelines

National 1 minute, 47 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

THREE school canteens failed to meet health guidelines, said a senior official at the Ministry of Education yesterday.

Head of the Department of Schools’ Health Promotion Unit Hjh Jamilah Hj Mohamad Ali said the School Canteen Grading project found that three out of the 30 inspected schools had failed to meet the health guidelines enforced by the Ministry of Health’s Environmental Health Services.

Despite MoH’s guidelines on food and beverages for school canteens in Brunei, she said many school cafeterias were still found selling unhealthy food.

She suggested holding more health roadshows to equip students with knowledge on healthy eating, adding that a cooking demonstration for school canteen vendors should be held at schools to teach vendors proper ways of preparing healthy food.

The education officer said this can help avoid canteen operators from selling unhealthy food at schools.

The grading project is an initiative the Ministry of Education (MoE) launched last year in collaboration with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) and Ministry of Health (MoH).

The school canteen grading system aims to inspect school cafeterias based on the structure of their buildings, food quality and the hygiene of food providers and their surroundings.

School canteens are graded from A to D. Those scoring 80 points and above would be graded with A, indicating a very satisfactory level.

Hjh Jamilah said the grading system also seeks to ensure all food vendors at all government schools comply with food hygiene to avoid food contamination and maintain high quality of food are being sold, in accordance to the Ministry of Healths guidelines.

Hjh Jamilah also urged parents to take more responsibility in teaching children how to prepare meals from scratch and to ensure their children bring healthy lunches.

“When it comes to obesity, it involves everyone, especially parents. It is the parent’s job to ensure their children are packed with healthy food and to (share) knowledge about healthy eating,” she said, adding that changing students behaviour to eat healthily and become more active is a challenge.

Hjh Jamilah also proposed an updated guideline to be issued for canteen operators in schools.

The Brunei Times