The school canteen is an integral part of the learning environment, and as such should operate in a manner that supports the health messages of curriculum. Schools* are required to follow the Department of Educations Healthy Food and Drink in Public Schools (HFD) policy, for more information on the HFD policy see

The HFD policy is based on the:

  • Australian Dietary Guidelines; Australian Guide to Healthy Eating
  • Health Promoting Schools Framework
  • Traffic light system of categorising items as green, amber or red based on the Star Choice Nutrient Criteria.

The HFD policy applies to all areas of the school where the Principal is responsible for the supply of food and drinks. For example, the canteen/food service (canteen), classroom rewards, excursions and camps, classroom cooking activities and school based fundraising. Principals are encouraged to promote consistent messages about healthy lifestyles in all school activities.

The HFD policy has five areas of compliance:

1.Develop a written school Healthy food and drink policy

A policy is a formal document adopted and endorsed by the school community that sets out the aims and principles of the school canteen/food service. It can help to bring about and sustain change and provides guidance for all food and drinks offered in the school setting.

2. Complete Traffic light training

3. Complete FoodSafe Food Handler training or its equivalent; all paid and volunteer staff

Preparing safe food is paramount in school canteens. Visit the Training page for more information on completing the training required.

4. Provide a menu with at least 60% green choices, no more than 40% amber choice, no red choices; savoury commercial items maximum of two days per week

Food and drinks classified ‘GREEN’ in the ‘traffic light’ system and are recommended for everyday consumption and should be promoted as the healthiest choices.

Food and drinks classified as ‘AMBER’ in the ‘traffic light’ system are not recommended as ‘every day’ choices and their availability to students should be limited.

Food and drinks categorised as ‘RED’ in the ‘traffic light’ system and are not permitted in WA public school canteens or food services. There is ample opportunity to consume ‘RED’ food and drinks outside school hours at the discretion of parents and carers.

The Menu planning page has more information.

5. School community involvement

For inspiration such as newsletter inserts about healthy eating see the Promotion and marketing page.

See the latest results from the HFD survey conducted by WASCA and Curtin University (2016).

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