OBJECTING to vagueness and ambiguity, President Andrej Kiska vetoed an amendment to the Education Act that was supposed to do away with junk food at schools. The parliament passed the legislation, proposed by Smer MP Renáta Zmajkovičová, on October 29.
Zmajkovičová said she respects the decision, but says the amendment is clear, the TASR newswire reported.
According to the amendment, shops located within schools would have had to get rid of all fast food products, foods containing over 1.5 grams of salt per 100 grams, sweets, ice cream, ice lollies, energy drinks, beverages containing quinine and flavoured soft drinks including beverages with added sugar and/or artificial sweeteners.
Zmajkovičová proposed that shopkeepers who violated the legislation should be subject to fines of €50-500. The legislator thus wanted to limit children’s access to food of little nutritional value so that shops would sell only well-balanced and healthy food.
“The legislation aims to put a stop to the current growth in obesity among people in Slovakia, especially among school children and youth,” the proposal reads, as quoted by TASR.
Though Kiska welcomed the legislation’s aim of remedying the overall health of Slovaks, he said that the bill lacks an exact definition of fast food. He also said that it would be advisable to scrap the entire list of banned food items and the respective financial sanctions.
Zmajkovičová, however, said that the amendment clearly sets the limitations, and that there is a reason for every item from the list to be there.
“The definition of fast food is clearly set in the trade law,” she explained, as quoted by TASR. “In case Mr President says that this definition does not exist, will he initiate the abolishment of all stalls with fast food which have the permission based on trade law?”
The president further observed that there are a number of instances in which prohibited food groups are not defined clearly, allowing for several possible interpretations. “As for flavoured beverages, these can also include milk drinks, which are not necessarily unhealthy for children,” Kiska explained, as quoted by TASR.
Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
20. Nov 2014 at 10:00