Legislation banning vending machines in French schools and colleges took effect at the beginning of this month prohibiting the sale of any food or drink, including fruit and bottled water.

The ban is incorporated in a Public Health Act passed last year and forms part of a state campaign to combat obesity, especially among young people.

In June this year, a group of French senators from the governing UMP party, prompted by industry lobbying, tried unsuccessfully to have the law amended, to allow vending machines distributing more healthy alternatives to be re-introduced.

AFSSA, France's food standards agency, has re-iterated its support for the ban on the grounds that it discourages snacking, but added that fruit and bottled water should be made readily available to pupils within the framework of broader action to improve the nutritional quality of school meals.