A baby playing (illustrative).
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
The Ministerial Committee for Legislation approved on Sunday government backing for an oversight system to supervise food in afternoon childcare programs.
The bill, proposed by MK Rachel Azaria (Kulanu), would provide oversight for lunches given to some 150,000 children.
“The labor market in Israel requires both parents to work in order to provide for the family, and as such our children are placed in afternoon daycare, and that is where they eat the central meal of their day,” Azaria explained.
Azaria explained that today the food served to children is not under any kind of nutritional enforcement. “What our children eat at afternoon daycare programs directly affects their health and also establishes their future eating habits,” she said.
The legislation aims to correct this and place the responsibility for enforcement on the state, she said, adding that “this way parents can be relaxed and calm at work and know that their children are eating a healthy and nutritious meal.”
The main facets of the initiative would include clear instructions regarding the amounts of salt, sugar, transfats, complex carbs, and healthy desserts allowed in the lunches.
In addition, the bill calls for collaboration between the Health Ministry and the Center for Local Authorities in establishing enforcers whose role will be to monitor the quality of food.
To date, more than half the children in the education system eat cooked lunches at afternoon daycare programs.
There are more than 100 catering services providing the food to some 2,500 afternoon care programs that are known to the Economy Ministry.