Europe’s leading beverage manufacturers have announced that they will voluntarily remove beverages containing added sugars from secondary schools.

This commitment builds industry’s longstanding leadership and expands its existing policy, introduced in 2006, not to sell any beverages in primary schools. The commitment will begin to be introduced across the 28 European Union member countries, with completed implementation by the end of 2018. Only no- and low-calorie soft drinks and water will be available in secondary schools.

“This initiative responds to the changing food environment and acknowledges that special care is required in schools. The soft drink sector had taken a lead in responsible policies in schools,” the industry’s trade group in Europe UNESDA said in an article.

Here in the U.S., we have a similar policy called the School Beverage Guidelines. In 2006, we started the initiative to remove full-calorie sodas from schools and replace them with more lower-calorie and smaller-portion choices.

As a result of this ambitious effort, we slashed beverage calories in schools by more than 90 percent and successfully changed the beverage landscape in schools across the country. This voluntary step by the beverage industry later helped form the basis of the beverage component of USDA’s regulations for foods and beverages sold in schools. Today, when you walk into a school, you will still see our commitment at work.

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