Government schools will be barred from serving fried meals and food high in sugar or salt following the introduction of new health guidelines by the UAE Ministry of Education this month.
Processed food, including all types of fries, crisps and chocolates, will be replaced by healthier options such as fruit and vegetables in all state schools in Dubai and the Northern Emirates.
The ministry has issued a 15-page guidebook which outlines how schools must choose caterers, the type of food they can sell and how it must be stored.
"We have asked all the education zones to give us the names of the suppliers so that we can carefully scrutinise them according to the guidelines," said Aisha Alsiri, director of nutrition and school health at the ministry.
"So far, most of the companies supplying to the schools have not had enough knowledge on nutrition, so we have had to spell it out with this."
Caterers who fail to adjust their menus will be dismissed from service, Ms Alsiri said.
The ministry will begin inspections from next month on canteen conditions and the food available.
"Despite the guidelines some schools still sell them, so we have to inspect them from time to time," Ms Alsiri said.