Home-baked items in West Babylon classes have been banned under an amended wellness policy approved last night that requires that all snack foods served during the school day meet nutritional guidelines and be commercially packaged, school officials said.
Under the new policy, approved by the school board in a 7-2 vote, all snack foods would have to meet nutrition guidelines set by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation or the New York State Nutrition Association's Choose Sensibly guidelines.
Items on the association's guidelines include snacks such as baked chips, fruit pops made with real fruit, trail mix without nuts, low-fat pudding and animal crackers.
The policy, which goes into effect Monday, also bans home-baked items at in-class parties.
Board member Carmine Galletta voted for the policy, but did so with "a heavy heart," he said, because children would not enjoy parties at school as much. "I think it is a shame and I think the children are losing out on something they can enjoy," he said.
Board member Joseph Romano voted against the policy because he said that the part of it that addresses food allergies is not worded strongly enough.
"I am so disappointed in the board that they believe that commercially packaged foods are healthier than home-baked goods," said Lisa Mallahan, whose 13-year-old son is an eighth-grader. "I can't believe I won't be baking cupcakes for my daughter when she goes to kindergarten. This is what we do."
At a recent public forum, some supported the restrictions, citing food allergy issues and sanitary concerns.
"I don't think our children are going to be missing anything to not have food in school," said Diane Edmonds, a parent of two.
District officials have said that there are hundreds of snack items that meet the nutrition requirements.