Daycare Centre Sparks Confusion by Banning Vegemite on Toast
A Sydney daycare centre’s decision to stop serving Vegemite on toast has sparked confusion among parents.
The NSW Health Minister had to address the issue, clarifying that the government had no intention of banning Vegemite on toast. Great Beginnings, located in Marsden Park, made the change in order to comply with carbohydrate requirements outlined in NSW Health’s Munch & Move program.
A concerned parent raised the issue, reporting that the center had replaced toast with cereals like Rice Bubbles or Cornflakes. The daycare center justified the decision by stating that the removal of toast was aimed at maintaining a healthy and balanced diet within the recommended carbohydrate intake. They also mentioned that the children had not refused the cereal options provided and could opt for alternatives like fruit salad if desired.
In response to these claims, NSW Health Minister Ryan Park emphasised that there was no official directive to ban toast or Vegemite from daycare centers. He explained that centers might implement their own rules to align with the dietary guidelines of the Munch & Move program, which could include reducing salt content. Minister Park reassured the public that Vegemite on toast was not being banned and that the government supported its consumption.
Commenting on behalf of Great Beginnings, a G8 spokeswoman said the latest “routine” menu change was made to ensure the children could “enjoy a variety of foods,” however toast was still on offer at other meal times.
“As part of Great Beginnings Marsden Park’s most recent menu update, the centre is serving a range of cereals and fruit for the children to choose from at breakfast,” she said. “Toast is always available if children would like it, and, in this current menu rotation, is served as part of the morning tea menu.”
While toast was no longer served at breakfast, it remained available during other meal times, including morning tea. The daycare center aimed to provide a healthy and balanced diet, incorporating cereals, fruit, bread, rice, pasta, crackers, cake, vegetable sticks, and fruit across different meals.
In 2017, NSW school canteens were advised to use Vegemite in smaller amounts, leading to a question for then-education minister Rob Stokes during a parliamentary session. Minister Stokes assured that Vegemite sandwiches would continue to be offered in school canteens, emphasising the government’s support for Vegemite.
“While I am education minister, Vegemite sandwiches will continue to be on offer in New South Wales school canteens,” he said. “The Government is a pro-Vegemite government.”