The registration of products by the WA School Canteen Association (WASCA) is in conjunction with FOCiS national registration program. FOCiS comprises school canteen representation in all States and Territories, including Western Australia. Its goal is to promote and facilitate the provision of nutritious foods that promote health in school canteens throughout Australia. In order to achieve this, FOCiS has developed nutrient criteria to assess food products. Each State and Territory School Canteen Association has contributed to the FOCiS nutrient criteria used to assess products. WASCA assesses products for registration using these national criteria. It is important to note that the criteria are reviewed nationally by nutritionally qualified health professionals, food technologists and food industry representatives throughout Australia.
The national criteria used to assess Star Choice™ Registered Products address levels and types of fat, salt (sodium), fibre and sugar in foods, because excessive amounts of fat, salt (sodium) and sugar, and inadequate amounts of fibre are associated with many of the chronic health problems suffered by Australians. Some categories also include a requirement for a minimum level of a specific mineral e.g. calcium, and some have maximum portion sizes and/or kilojoule requirements. Thus, it should not be assumed that a larger size of the same product meets registration criteria. For example a 28g packet snack line may be registered, but a 50g packet of the same product may not be because it exceeds the kilojoule allowance.
The criteria do not address food additives, colourings, preservatives or flavourings as their addition or otherwise to food and beverages is controlled by the government body, Food Standards Australia New Zealand.
The Star Choice™ Registered Products makes it easier for schools to stock and promote healthier choices of a wide range of food and beverages.
The Star Choice™ product register list mainly processed foods that meet varying criteria according to the category of product. Thus the criterion applied to assess bread products is quite different to that used to assess poultry, fish and meat products. Only products submitted for registration have been assessed. There is no doubt that there are other foods and beverages available in the marketplace that meets the nutritional criteria. The assumption should not be made that a product that is not listed does not meet the criteria.
How to access the Star Choice™ product register
The products in the register have been arranged in major categories according to the nutrient criteria applied to assess them, e.g. all Breads, cereals, rice, pasta and noodle products are grouped together. This should make it easier and quicker to find products.
The major categories for registration are as follows:
- Breads, cereals, rice, pasta and noodles (including fruit breads, flat breads and crisp breads)
- Vegetables and vegetable products
- Fruit and fruit products (including juice, canned fruit)
- Dairy products and dairy alternatives (including milk, yoghurt, cheese and/or alternatives)
- Meat and meat alternatives (including meat, fish, poultry, eggs, nuts, legumes – both fresh and processed lines)
- Mixed foods (hot and cold prepared dishes)
- Miscellaneous foods (snack foods)
- Beverages (including non dairy and/or soy)
- Fats, oils, dressings and dips
Each of these categories has a number of sub-categories. Not all sub-categories currently have products listed. This does not mean that there are not products available in the market place that would fit the nutrient criteria but simply that none have been registered.
If you wish to know whether a particular product that is not registered meets the registration criteria, please call the Association.
You can also search the register by company name, e.g. Jackson’s Foods. All foods registered under this company, regardless of category will be shown.
Getting the balance right when menu planning
Star Choice™ Registered Products assist canteens to offer healthier versions of convenience pre-prepared meals, snacks and beverages and are particularly useful in schools where extensive food preparation is not permitted under current Food Hygiene Regulations. However, some items are not recommended as ‘every day’ choices and should be limited in their availability to students.
The following table sets out the WA School Canteen Association guidelines to guide your menu planning. Items in the first column are those recommended for everyday consumption and these should dominate the menu and be promoted as best choices. These are categorised as GREEN under the Department of Education & Training’s Healthy Food and Drink Policy. A minimum of 60% of the total menu choices should come from this category.
Items in the second column may be offered to add variety to the menu, but are recommended to be limited in availability. Some Star Choice™ products fit into this category and are therefore not recommended to be offered every day. These are categorised as AMBER under the Healthy Food and Drink policy. No more than 40% of the total choices available should come from this catetory. AMBER savoury commercial products are further restricted to no more than twice per week.
Items in the third column of the table are not permitted for sale in Government and Catholic school canteens at all and are therefore not able to be registered. There is ample opportunity to consume these outside school hours at the discretion of parents and carers.
These are EVERYDAY choices
- Fruit, preferably fresh but may include frozen, canned (in natural juice)
- Vegetables and legumes, fresh, e.g. stuffed potatoes, corn-on-cob, or canned varieties e.g. baked beans, 3 bean mix. Salads (using reduced fat dressings only), all salad mixes
- Cereal foods – wholegrain cereals, pasta, noodles, rice
- A variety of bread types including wholegrain and/or wholemeal
- A variety of sandwich/roll fillings that are all available with salad, e.g. egg, reduced fat cheese, skin-free chicken, tuna, lean meats, yeast spreads, hommus
- Lean meats, fish, poultry and alternatives e.g. skin-free chicken meat, lean meats, fish (tuna, salmon, sardines)
- Reduced fat dairy products including plain milk (no serve size restriction), flavoured milk (less than 375mL), cheese and yoghurt
- Plain water, plain mineral water
and choose small serves. These are LIMITED
- Registered cereals with added sugars*
- Registered reduced fat pastry items*
- Hot dogs made using registered frankfurts*
- Registered sausages for sausage sizzles or special events organised by the canteen*
- Registered savoury commercial products, e.g. fish, chicken, potato portions, pizza*
- Registered hamburger patties*
- Registered assorted cakes/biscuits or muffins*
- Registered sweet and savoury snack foods*
- Registered ice-creams/icy poles*
- Reduced fat flavoured milks (greater than 375mL)
- Full fat dairy foods, e.g. milk, yoghurt, low fat dairy desserts, cheese
- Fruit juices – small sizes (250mL or less) and no added sugar
NOTE: Full fat dairy products cannot be registered. Reduced fat dairy products are recommended for children over the age of 2 years. Only choose the full fat varieties if reduced fat is not available.
- Full-fat pastry items of any description
- Deep fried food of any description
- Sweet sandwich fillings including jam, nut spreads, honey, or confectionery sprinkles
- High fat sandwich meats including polony and salami
- Confectionery (including liquorice, cough lollies, and fruit juice based jellies) and/or sweet or savoury snack items not approved byWASCA or FOCiS
- Chocolate confectionery
- Soft drinks, cordial, sports drinks
- High caffeine drinks (eg drinks containing Guarana)
- Chocolate coated and premium style icecreams
- Croissants, doughnuts, cream filled or iced buns/cakes, sweet pastries, slices
- Fruit juices – large sizes (250mL or greater).
- Water flavoured with 100% fruit juice
* Or meets the criteria for registration
* Nuts and savoury nut spreads do not appear in the table. Schools are advised to refer to the Department of Education’s Student Health Care policy and the Anaphylaxis Management Guidelines for Schools from the Department of Health before deciding whether or not to include nuts and nut spreads on the canteen menu.