Public Health Nutrition

School food workshop

The Brazilian school feeding programme: an example of an integrated programme in support of food and nutrition security

Emilie Sidanera1 c1, Daniel Balabana2 and Luciene Burlandya3

a1 Policy and Strategy Division, World Food Programme, Via Cesare Giulo Viola 68/70, Parco de Medici, 00148 Rome, Italy

a2 WFP Centre of Excellence against Hunger, Brasília, Brazil

a3 Department of Social Nutrition, Faculty of Nutrition, Fluminense Federal University, Niterói, Brazil


Objective The present paper analyses the advances and challenges of the school feeding programme in Brazil (PNAE), as part of the Brazilian experience building up an integrated food and nutrition security national system. It explores the role of policy and regulatory frameworks in constructing quality service delivery and intersectoral integration.

Design Review of PNAE and federal government technical documents and studies, legislation, minutes of meetings and official documents of the National Council of Food and Nutrition Security from 2003 to 2011.

Setting Food insecurity has decreased significantly in Brazil in the last decade, indicating that appropriate choices were made in terms of public policies and institutional arrangements, which other countries can learn from.

Subjects Brazil food and nutrition security system; school feeding; school food.

Results Brazil's integrated food and nutrition security policy approach promoted intersectorality in the food system, articulating actions to guarantee access to healthy food and to strengthen family farming. The quality of school meals has progressively improved; in particular, the availability of fruits and vegetables increased. However, national standards regarding menu composition have not yet been met. Regulations were an important factor, along with the policy approach linking food production, nutrition, health and education. Challenges are related to conflict of interests and to farmers’ insufficient capacity to meet supply requirements and comply with technical procedures.

Conclusions Local food production, school meals and nutrition education can be linked through integrated programmes and policies, improving access to healthier foods. Government leadership, strong legislation, civil society participation and intersectoral decision making are determinant.

(Received March 19 2012)

(Revised October 02 2012)

(Accepted October 11 2012)

(Online publication December 06 2012)


  • School feeding;
  • School nutrition;
  • Brazil;
  • Food and nutrition security;
  • PNAE


c1 Corresponding author: Email;