Minister of Health Dr. Fahrettin Koca, Minister of National Education Ziya Selçuk and Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Bekir Pakdemirli signed the “Cooperation Protocol regarding foods to be sold at school canteens and the logo implementation for these foods”.
“When our children are preparing for life, apart from a good education, it is also important to have strong physical and mental development. Bad eating habits, like taking in high-calorie foods and consuming sugared and carbonated beverages in an unrestrained way, form the basis of many illnesses, such as obesity that starts early in life, orthopedic development disorder, diabetics, and cardiovascular diseases,” said Health Minister in his speech.
“We are conducting hearing and eye screening at schools”
“We initiated the eye screening besides the hearing screening that has been applied since 2015. We also provide protective fluoride varnish for protection against dental caries and erosion within the scope of protective oral and dental health program.
Reminding that the vaccination also continues at school age, Dr. Koca stated “All vaccines are supplied and administered in care of the Ministry of Health. It is the most comprehensive immunization program in Europe, and our children are vaccinated against 13 diseases.
We are also continuing the school milk program as of 2011 and raisin program as of 2015 in cooperation with the same three ministries within the framework of the Healthy Diet and Obesity Prevention Program. Thus, we target to develop healthy nutrition habits for our children.”
Concerning the “School with White Flag” program, Dr. Koca said that it was still ongoing in order to encourage the schools to pay more attention to cleaning and hygiene, and thus increase the school health and life quality with a view to raising healthy generations. According to Koca, around 60 thousands schools have earned white flag so far.
The first requirement of the Nutrition-Friendly School Program is to have a white flag, and the schools fulfilling this are also continuously supervised by the Ministry of National Education and Ministry of Health. The supervisions aim to find out whether the products sold at the canteens meet the certain standards.
Almost 40% of all schools earned the title of “Nutrition-Friendly School”, and half of the schools documented their level of quality in terms of hygiene, and got white flag. “We target to make sure that all schools fulfill the necessary criteria and obtain these certificates” said Dr. Koca.
Minister Pakdemirli touched, on the other hand, upon the Nutrition-Friendly School Program, hygiene rules in school canteens and training of staff working at the canteens, and added that the Protocol would enable supervision of canteens by three ministries, and supervisions would also cover the production sites.
Minister of National Education Ziya Selçuk said a healthy eating habit would lead to “a more productive” society and added that “As food gets more energy-dense, more problems start to rise in terms of productivity in education activities. Both hyperactivity and attention deficiencies arise”.
Following the speeches, the three Ministers signed the Cooperation Protocol. As of 2019-2020 academic year, the goods meeting the necessary criteria for sale at schools will bear the approved logo. The supervisions will be carried out by three ministries based on the principles laid down by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.