From January 2017, selling and/or advertising chips, soft drinks
or mayonnaise-filled sandwiches to children in schools will be
The new legislation is the result of an ongoing debate on the
growing number of obese children in the Czech Republic. According
to the latest statistics, every third child in the country is
obese. The Czech Republic has therefore finally decided to follow
global and European trends in implementing specific regulations
aimed at combating questionable eating habits among children and
The idea of regulating the sale and advertising of unhealthy
foods and beverages in schools was first introduced by an amendment
to Act No. 561/2004 Coll., the Schools and Education Act (the
"Schools Act"), which came into effect on 1 September
2015. Section 32 of the amendment provides for a general ban on
"advertising and the sale of foods that are contrary to
the requirements of healthy nutrition of children, pupils and
students." The Schools Act did not further elaborate on
the specific rules and requirements to be met in order to comply
with this prohibition. Instead, this was left for implementation
through governmental regulation, which, however, was not adopted
until September 2016.
Regulation No. 282/2016 Coll., on Requirements for Foods, the
Sale and Advertising of which will be Permitted at Schools (the
"Regulation"), which entered into force on 20 September
which foods (including beverages)
are/are not allowed to be sold and/or advertised in schools and
other school facilities;
a list of ingredients and foodstuffs
that must not/may be contained in foods and beverages sold or
advertised at schools;
exceptions from the prohibition on
the sale/advertising of banned foods;
transitional periods for the sale or
advertising of foods or beverages that do not meet the requirements
laid down by the Regulation.
What's allowed and what isn't?
Effective as of 1 January 2017, only foods that
comply with the requirements of the Regulation (as specified in its
Annex 1) and that:
do not contain
sweeteners, except for sugar-free chewing gums or caffeine, except
for tea or non-alcoholic beverages with tea extracts;
do not contain
trans-fatty acids coming from partially hydrogenated fats; or
are not energy or stimulating
beverages or foods designated for athletes or persons with
increased physical performance
may be sold, offered for sale and advertised in schools and
schools facilities, also in addition to:
unprocessed fruits and
fruit and vegetable juices and
nectars without added sugar (added sugar include, eg molasses,
honey, syrups and others).
Annex 1 to the Regulation specifies limits of salt, fat and
sugar that may be contained in different categories of products,
such as fruit products, nuts, dairy and meat products, including
fish, pastry, readymade snacks and foods (eg sandwiches),
non-alcoholic beverages and others.
In addition, foods sold at schools must not contain ketchups,
mustards, dressings and mayonnaise. Additional requirements are in
place regarding grain products and readymade foods (eg minimum
required amounts of wholegrain flour, minimum ratio of proteins or
vegetables in readymade food snacks, etc).
Exceptions from the ban
Section 3 of the Regulation provides for exceptions from the
prohibition on sale of foods that do not meet the requirements of
the Regulation. These exceptions apply to the sale, or offering for
in premises where only education of
students/pupils having passed the compulsory school attendance
period (elementary school) takes place;
in premises that are reserved
exclusively for adults and to which children or pupils having
compulsory school attendance do not have permanent access;
in connection with practical
in relation to activities that take
place outside the carrying out of education or schooling
In relation to dairy products eligible for subsidies according
to special legislation, the effective date regarding compliance of
such dairy products with the requirements of the Regulation has
been suspended until 1 August 2017.
As research and statistics have shown, the ease of obtaining
available foods containing large volumes of salt, sugar and
sweeteners, fat and other nutritionally poor foods, are one of the
key factors leading to incorrect eating habits among children. The
question is, however, whether the new and somewhat belated
legislation is sufficient. The various exceptions to the ban still
seem a little too vague and easy to abuse.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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