$10,000 fine in school canteen laws

ANYONE operating a canteen in schools which is not licensed under the Food Safety Act is liable to a $10,000 fine or five years imprisonment.

And if the owner of the canteen fails to comply with any of the conditions of the licence or regulations he or she is further liable for a $2000 or 12 months imprisonment.

This is clearly outlined in the School Canteen Act that was put together by the National Food Nutrition Centre.

Under the Canteen Act, the principal or head teacher is the overall person in charge of the canteen.

A canteen committee is also required irrespective of whether the canteen is operated by the schools or by private operators.

They will ensure an efficient service, compliance to the Canteen Guidelines and National Food and Nutrition Policy for Schools.

The principal or head teacher must also ensure that people allowed into the school compound to sell products must also abide by the school canteen guidelines.

Many schools have contractual arrangements with private operators to run the canteens.

While these arrangements need to be honoured, the principal should discuss with the operator about obtaining proper licenses and the need to comply with the School Canteen Policy.

In the Act it states that committee allows the responsibilities to be shared among members, and also provides a forum for suggestions and improvements to be considered.

Members with catering, accounting or business knowledge would be beneficial and student representatives should be included in the canteen committee.

The principal or head teacher or the committee members need to determine the duties and responsibilities of the school canteen Ccommittee.

The School Canteen Committee needs to monitor the canteen weekly in terms of hygiene, menu, food and drinks sold and cost to ensure student’s nutritional needs are met at reasonable prices.

A monitoring report should be provided to the principal or head teacher at the end of each school term by the appointed committee member.

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