The Food and Drink Criteria

The Food and Drink Criteria sets the standard for healthy school canteen menus. Under the criteria, ‘Everyday’ items should make up at least ¾ of what is available and ‘Occasional’ items should account for no more than the other quarter.

Fruit salads in plastic containers on a counter

About the Food and Drink Criteria

The criteria is based on:

  1. The Australian Dietary Guidelines – a national publication which recommend the amounts and kinds of foods we need to eat  and are regularly updated to reflect scientific evidence.
  2. The Health Star Rating – a national product labelling system which provides a quick and easy way to compare the nutritional value of similar packaged foods.

These two initiatives were designed to give the population the best possible advice on healthy eating. As such, the Everyday and Occasional foods you serve in schools really need to measure up.

The criteria for Everyday and Occasional food and drinks is set out in the table below.

Everyday Occasional
At least ¾ of the menu. No more than ¼ of the menu.
No Health Star Rating (HSR) cut-off. Health Star Rating (HSR) of 3.5 stars and above.
Portion limits for flavoured milk, juice and ready-to-eat meals. Portion limits for all Occasional food and drinks.
Display, favourably price, promote and advertise Everyday choices. Occasional food and drinks not promoted at point of sale.

The Food and Drink Criteria underpins the NSW Government's Healthy School Canteens Strategy. Read more about the strategy.

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