(SACRAMENTO, CA) ? Today, Assemblymember Bill Monning (D-Carmel) introduced legislation to help California schools promote and protect student health by restricting mobile food vending near school campuses.
Assembly Bill (AB) 1678 prohibits mobile food and beverage vending within 1,500 feet of elementary and secondary school campuses from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on any day schools are in session. The bill also requires local health agencies to notify mobile food vendors of this restriction.
?All students deserve access to healthful food. The mobile vending of unhealthful snacks like ice cream, chips, and sugar sweetened beverages near school campuses undermines efforts to provide students with the nutrition they need,? stated Assemblymember Monning. ?At a time when childhood obesity is at epidemic levels, we must ensure that our school environments foster student wellness.?
For years, California has taken action to create healthier school environments for students. In communities across the state, these investments are being eroded by mobile food vending that competes with the healthful meals and snacks offered by schools through federally funded nutrition programs.
Mobile food vending poses a threat to student safety as well as student nutrition. Mobile vending near school campuses incentivizes students to leave school grounds, which increases students? exposure to off-campus hazards such as heavily trafficked streets. Creating a buffer zone, free of mobile food vending, around school campuses will decrease students? access to unhealthful foods; help bolster school nutrition programs; and help protect the safety of students.
San Francisco already bans food trucks within 1500 feet of middle schools & high schools, and only on the public right-of-way; this means, if a food truck has permission to park on private property, it can be located right next to a school. This proposed state law would virtually outlaw food trucks in San Francisco because it eliminates the private property exemption, and it includes elementary schools which don't even let kids leave at lunchtime anyway.
Here is a link that shows a map detailing 1000 feet around every school in S.F. You'll have to imagine that every one of those circles is 50% larger. http://www.sf-planning.org/index.aspx?page=2337
The author of the bill says it is necessary to protect school children from unhealthy food, but I think this is just more Nanny State regulation. Never mind that many food trucks serve better food than the schools do (and as I've said before, our schools serve some pretty good food!) or that there is no regulation of restaurants, corner markets, or bagged lunches from home. Never mind that a lot of adults won't have access to those food trucks anymore, either. Some claims I've heard are that it's a way to force the food trucks out of business so they will choose to "put down roots" in a brick & mortar building and pay property taxes. While that might be true in S.F., I can't imagine that would hold true in most other places in CA. And the truth is that some of the food trucks in S.F. are off-shoots of established restaurants, and some of the trucks *have* set up their own restaurants.
I'm interested to hear what others think about this.
Note to self: find out where the potsticker truck will be tomorrow. :drool: