Parents shocked after Sydney daycare center stops serving Vegemite on toast
A decision at a Sydney daycare center has forced the state’s health minister to confirm the government is ‘not in the game to ban Vegemite on toast’.
Great Beginnings in Marsden Park, in Sydney’s north-west suburbs, told parents it would no longer serve toast to children to comply with carbohydrate requirements set by NSW Health’s Munch & Move programme.
On Monday, 2GB Breakfast host Ben Fordham said that after a listener complained about the move, the center swapped the toast for cereal like Rice Bubbles or Cornflakes.
The parent was told ‘the removal of toast ensured that the daily carbohydrate content of the menu (was) not high enough to maintain a healthy, balanced diet’.
A Sydney daycare center has said parents and carers will no longer be offered toast for breakfast. Photo: iStock
The daycare center also said that no daycare attendee has refused cereal, but if they don’t want cereal, they can be offered an alternative ‘such as fruit salad’.
In response to the claims, NSW Health Minister Ryan Park said there was no official direction from the government to ban toast or Vegemite from day care centres. Instead centers can implement the rules so that they meet NSW Health’s Munch & Move program dietary guidelines
‘Sometimes there are some recommendations around these guidelines about salt reduction. Local centers can do that,’ he said.
‘We are not in the game to ban Vegemite on toast, I can assure you.
‘Vegemite isn’t going anywhere. Toast isn’t going anywhere. We don’t want people to feel bad because their kids are eating Vegemite… My kids love it.’
NSW Health Minister Ryan Park said the government had not banned toast from day care centres. Photo: NCA Newswire/ Gay Gerrard
Commenting on behalf of Great Beginnings, a G8 spokesperson said the latest ‘routine’ menu changes were made to ensure children could ‘enjoy a variety of foods’, but toast was still on offer at other mealtimes.
‘As part of Great Beginnings Marsden Park’s recent menu update, the center is offering a range of cereals and fruit for children to choose from at breakfast,’ she said.
‘Toast is always available if the kids like it, and in this current menu rotation morning tea is served as part of the menu.’
Children may eat raisin toast for morning tea, while lunch is usually bread, rice or pasta, she says.
‘Afternoon tea includes crackers, cakes and vegetable sticks. Fruits are also served with all meals,’ he said.
‘We are committed to providing the children in our care with a healthy, balanced diet that helps them thrive.
In 2017, NSW school canteens were advised to use only ‘lightly sprinkled’ or ‘small amounts of Vegemite’, prompting then Education Minister Rob Stokes to be asked about the Department for Education’s guidance in question period.
Mr Stokes responded by saying the Aussie icon would continue to be served in school canteens.
‘While I am Education Minister, Vegemite sandwiches will continue to be offered in New South Wales school canteens,’ he said.
‘The government is a pro-Vegemite government.’