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Latvia Bans Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Sweets in Schools
 
TodayOnline.com
August 23, 2006

The Latvian government banned schools from selling food and beverages it considers unhealthy, including soft drinks made by Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola.

The government said the ban covers all products that contain artificial food colorings, flavorings, sweeteners and caffeine.

Instead of sweets, crisps, soft drinks and bubble gum, school cafes will be stocked with unsalted nuts, dried fruit, wholegrain snacks, oatmeal cookies, mineral water and unsweetened juices.

"Artificial colorings and flavorings can result in allergic reactions, and young organisms are more sensitive to chemicals," the Latvian health ministry said in a statement.

The ministry added that every European Union member state is allowed to ban or restrict sales of food containing certain artificial agents. Latvia joined the EU in 2004.

In July, former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright sent a letter to Latvian President Vaira Vike-Freiberga asking that sales of Coca-Cola should not be banned in Latvia's schools.

Albright is a director of the Albright Group LLC, whose activities include brokering agreements with governments and businesses and building strategic relationships with opinion leaders, according to the group's website. Coca-Cola is one of its clients.

The ban approved by the Latvian government does not require approval from parliament and will come into force on November 1. AFP The Latvian government banned schools from selling food and beverages it considers unhealthy, including soft drinks made by Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola.

The government said the ban covers all products that contain artificial food colorings, flavorings, sweeteners and caffeine.

Instead of sweets, crisps, soft drinks and bubble gum, school cafes will be stocked with unsalted nuts, dried fruit, wholegrain snacks, oatmeal cookies, mineral water and unsweetened juices.

"Artificial colorings and flavorings can result in allergic reactions, and young organisms are more sensitive to chemicals," the Latvian health ministry said in a statement.

The ministry added that every European Union member state is allowed to ban or restrict sales of food containing certain artificial agents. Latvia joined the EU in 2004.

In July, former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright sent a letter to Latvian President Vaira Vike-Freiberga asking that sales of Coca-Cola should not be banned in Latvia's schools.

Albright is a director of the Albright Group LLC, whose activities include brokering agreements with governments and businesses and building strategic relationships with opinion leaders, according to the group's website. Coca-Cola is one of its clients.

The ban approved by the Latvian government does not require approval from parliament and will come into force on November 1.

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