Red Food and Drink Items Fact Sheet

In accordance with the ACT Public School Food and Drink Policy 2015, the provision and sale of all food and drinks in ACT public schools must meet the National Healthy School Canteens: Guidelines for healthy foods and drinks supplied in school canteens 2013 (NHSCG). Under the NHSCG Red foods and drink are not recommended. They do not contribute positively to the diet and are low in nutritional value.

Not recommended

Red foods and drinks may contain excess energy (kilojoules), saturated fat, added sugar and/or salt.

Red drink examples

Soft drinks, iced tea, cordial, sports waters, sports drinks, flavoured mineral water, energy drinks, sweetened waters. Includes any drink containing intense (artificial) sweeteners* with the exception of flavoured milk.

Any product containing guarana.

Coffee-style products (including flavoured), mocha, latte, cappuccino or similar, with the exception of coffee-style milk drinks.

Coffee-style milk drinks (including flavoured) in primary school.
Coffee-style milk drinks greater than 375mL serve size in secondary school.

Fruit/vegetable juice with less than 99% juice and/or with added sugar and/or with greater than 250mL serve size.

Drinks with less than 99% fruit juice and/or added sugar and/or greater than 200mL serve size.

Red food examples

Fruit ice blocks, jelly desserts, ice crushes and slushies, icy-poles
Less than 99% fruit juice and/or added sugar. Fruit ice blocks and icy-poles - serve size greater than 125ml. Ice slushies, jelly desserts and fruit jellies - serve size greater than 200ml.

Cakes and slices
Iced cakes and slices, doughnuts, Danishes, croissants, cream filled buns/cakes.

All types: sold separately or added to products including; boiled lollies, carob, chocolate (including choc chips and chocolate coating), chocolate spreads, cough lollies, 100s and 1000s, juice jellies, icing, liquorice, soft lollies, yoghurt/carob-coated.

Deep fried foods
All types.

Cream, coconut cream, coconut milk, butter, copha, ghee, lard.

* Code number and prescribed name for intense (artificial) sweeteners include:
950 (acesulphame potassium), 951 (aspartame), 952 (cyclamate), 953 (isomalt), 954 (saccharin), 955 (sucralose), 956 (alitame), 957 (thaumatin), 961 (neotame), 965 (maltitol or hydrogenated glucose syrup), 966 (lactitol), 967 (xylitol), 968 (erythritol)

For detailed information to distinguish between Amber and Red items, refer to the NHSCG resources at:

Greening food and drink items

For ideas on how to 'Green' Amber food and drink items, read the Green Food and Drink Items Fact sheet and the User Guide to the National Healthy School Canteen Guidelines.

A User Guide, specifically for the ACT, will provide a step by step guide to understand and apply the NHSCG. This resource is being developed by ACT Health in consultation with school users and will be available in term 2, 2015. For updated information go to

Related Fact sheets


National Healthy School Canteens: Guidelines for health foods and drinks supplied in school canteens, updated 2013.

Eat for Health, Australian Dietary Guidelines 2013

Red Food and Drink Items fact sheet pdf print version PDF File (344kb)