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20 March 2023

Slovakia: New regulation promoting sale of healthy food in Slovak schools

As of 15 March 2023, a new regulation on the sale of certain types of foods in schools was introduced by Decree of the Ministry of Health of the Slovak Republic No. 75/2023 Coll., on details of requirements for facilities for children and adolescents (the "Decree"). The aim of the regulation is to provide a nutritionally valuable range of food in school catering establishments, mainly fresh vegetables and fruit.

The Decree regulates the assortment of foods that can be sold in cafeterias, vending machines and other points of sale in establishments in which education and training is provided to children and adolescents up to the age of 18 (e.g. public and private schools, dormitories, etc.).

The assortment of sold goods must be of nutritional value and must contain fresh fruit and vegetables, fruit and vegetable juices and nectars with an added sugar content of up to 5 g/100 ml, wholemeal and cereal products, milk and dairy products and their lactose-free alternatives, vegetable drinks and plant-based foods with reduced fat and added sugars, and drinks and natural juices without preservatives.

Under the Decree, the following products are prohibited from being sold in the respective establishments:

  1. soft drinks with added sugar above 5 g/100 ml;
  2. caffeinated soft drinks;
  3. soft drinks with taurine;
  4. soft drinks with quinine;
  5. alcoholic beverages;
  6. products containing tobacco and nicotine;
  7. nutritional supplements;
  8. snack foods, i.e.: deep-fried flat bread ("langoš"), egg bread, scrambled eggs, processed meats and sausage products containing less than 80% meat, products containing mayonnaise, fried foods, pâtés or burgers;
  9. sweet or salty snack foods, in particular salted potato chips, saltine crackers or saltine sticks, the proportion of which in the total assortment of goods would exceed 50 %.

According to the statement of the Public Health Authority, inspections aimed at compliance with the above rules will be performed, though initially only recommendations will be given and fines will not be imposed. Moreover, providers will be allowed to sell their current stock of products that have been prohibited by the Decree.

author: Peter Devínsky