TEACHERS need to be taught about healthy eating to prepare them in the fight against junk food, says the Association of School Canteen Operators Malaysia (Ascom).
Its president William Huee said some teachers were not aware of how unhealthy certain foods and beverages were, such as carbonated drinks that were packaged as sports drinks.
A canteen operator since the 1970s, Huee founded Ascom in 1976 after realising that canteen operators like him could be selling food that was unhealthy.
“The authorities fined me RM500 for selling teh tarik and RM700 for selling popcorn. Once I realised these foods were unheal-thy, I wondered if other canteens sold equally unhealthy food,” he said.
Huee now works with Zubedy (M) Sdn Bhd’s #SaySomethingNice campaign to run the #EatSomethingNice project to educate students to stay away from junk food and eat more nutritious meals.
He visited three schoolsin the last two weeks and plans to visit more after the UPSR exams.
During the #EatSomethingNice roadshow at SJK(C) Kheng Chee Puchong on Wednesday, he conducted interactive classes with about 900 primary students.
Huee, who had run his programme with 1.5 million students from kindergarten to college, said #EatSomethingNice planned to start a workshop to teach teachers on what students should be eating.
School headmaster Lim Wah Lim said while the school canteen offered healthier food options like fresh buns and noodles, unscrupulous hawkers outside school grounds still sold junk food to students.
“When we see the ice cream sellers outside the school, we immediately call the Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ) to ask them to leave.
“But if the students know about healthy eating habits and nutrition, they will not buy the junk food,” he said.
Under the Local Council Guidelines, street vendors – often seen on three-wheelers and small vans – are illegal if operating without a business licence.
The company’s Head of Business Aby Mahmood said efforts like #EatSomethingNice was aimed at educating schools on healthy eating and in promoting unity by rallying people to a common goal.
He hoped it would gain more support next year, especially with more organisations keen on participating in the programme.