The move by Coca Cola and Pepsi to no longer supply sugar-filled fizzy drinks to schools is just a ploy to keep vending machines and their brands in schools, Green Party Food spokesperson Sue Kedgley said today.
“The much touted agreement is more about public relations and spin than public health,” Ms Kedgley said.
“Children in schools will still be exposed to highly acidic, enamel-destroying fizzy drinks with addictive and controversial additives in them, despite this so-called accord.
“Fizzy drinks and vending machines have no place in schools – whether they are sugar-filled or diet drinks,” Ms Kedgley said.
“Schools should be encouraging children to make healthy choices, and not to become addicted to sweet, carbonated drinks.”
“Having vending machines in schools hooks our children into drinking Coca Cola and Pepsi instead of healthier alternatives.
“Drinks like diet Coca Cola and Pepsi are devoid of nutrition, and contain controversial additives like aspartame, and caffeine, which can make children hyperactive, irritable and anxious.
“They are also highly acidic and can damage tooth enamel and contribute to dental disease. This is a serious public health concern with research showing that the dental health of New Zealand children continues to deteriorate.”
Ms Kedgley said companies like Coca Cola and Pepsi were desperate to keep their brands, and vending machines in schools, in the hope that kids would become addicted to their brands and their products.
One of the main reasons vending machines are found in many schools is because schools earn $10,000 a year for each vending machine.
Coca Cola told the Health Select committee Inquiry into Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes that schools with vending machines in them could earn between $5000 and $50,000 a year.
France and the United Kingdom do not allow fizzy drinks to be sold in schools at all.