In the Capitol's Dome Deli, lawmakers, lobbyists and state employees can grab a piece of fruit or a salad. But for long days and late nights of work, some of them are more likely to go straight to the cafeteria's other options: Cheetos, Butterfingers, Coca-Cola or Full Throttle energy drinks.
Some of those items could disappear from the shelves of state facilities under House Bill 1801.
With more than a quarter of Washington adults now obese, Rep. Laurie Jinkins, a Tacoma public health administrator, wants state buildings to stock more healthful food. School menus have made progress, she says, and the fare for state employees and the people housed in state institutions needs to catch up.
Her bill would require state agencies to write rules for state purchasers and vendors, including minimum standards set by the bill.
“The state should actually be purchasing food that has a nutritional value,” Jinkins said. “Soda pop has no nutritional value whatsoever. None. What’s the purpose of doing that or serving that?”
Pop and other sugary drinks could amount to no more than one-fifth of beverages sold by vendors or vending machines under rules the bill would phase in.
State vendors complained during a hearing this week they would lose money because customers would buy less food. The Department of Services for the Blind helps legally-blind adults run food service businesses in state buildings and other government buildings.
Jinkins, a freshman Democrat, is the first to say she doesn’t always avoid junk food, but said lawmakers need to reduce the cost of chronic disease to the health care system.
Other standards under the bill:
Fat-free or low-fat dairy products only.
Lean meats with no more than 10 percent fat – and no skin on the poultry.
Priority given to state-caught fish.
Limits on fried foods and added sugar.
Smaller portion sizes.
No more than 200 calories per serving in snacks served, with no trans fats and no more than 10 percent saturated fats. Plus, 80 percent of vending machine offerings would have to be deemed healthy.
That would decrease the number of choices such as peanut M&M’s, which Dwight Jones tried to extract from the Dome Deli vending machine Wednesday.
Jones, a businessman visiting the Capitol Campus for the day, looked skeptically on the proposed requirements.
“I think adults need to make adult choices,” he said.
The M&Ms refused to drop from their perch, so Jones skipped the candy and bought a pack of Gardetto’s snack mix, with 210 calories.
Jordan Schrader: 360-786-1826 jordan.schrader@ thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/politics