By Anna Gustafson
It has come to this: Pop-Tarts and Doritos have trumped homemade brownies as acceptable foods allowed to be sold at bake sales inside the city’s public schools.
The 13-member city Panel for Education Policy unanimously agreed on the amended bake sale policy just before midnight Feb. 24 that lists 27 specific packaged items that may be sold in bakes sales, including the Whole Grain Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop Tart and Cool Ranch or Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos.
The regulation states that only marked, single-serving packages with a maximum calorie count of 200 may be sold in most school bake sales. Students may also sell fresh fruit and vegetables, but brownies, zucchini bread and other homemade goodies lost out.
“I’m sorry, I’d rather have my child eat a home-baked cupcake than a piece of garbage Kellogg’s Pop-Tart,” said Rob Caloras, president of Community Education Council 26, which is based in Bayside.
City Department of Education officials said the regulation was meant to address PTA members’ concerns that they were unable to raise needed money with bake sales.
“This regulation has been updated to provide additional flexibility for fund-raising while conforming to the Department of Education’s Wellness Policy and initiatives to improve the quality and nutritional value of foods and beverages that are available for children,” the DOE said in a statement.
DOE spokeswoman Marge Feinberg stressed that PTAs will still be allowed to sell homemade goods at their monthly bake sales, which Caloras said still will not allow the groups to make enough money.
The amendment comes about nine months after the panel banned the majority of bake sales in schools, a move slammed by many PTA and other school groups that said it severely restricted their ability to raise money for various activities like field trips.
Other items on the new list include Frito Lay’s Baked Cheddar Sour Cream and Bar-B-Q chips, only blackberry Nutri-Grain cereal bars and Linden’s two-pack of chocolate chip cookies.
The PEP’s decision comes on the heels of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s push for healthy eating in the city, including a recent request that the food industry and restaurants voluntarily slash sodium by 25 percent. Under the mayor, the city health department has banned trans fats at restaurants and required chain eateries to post calorie counts.
Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.