Catering students are passing NVQ courses without any understanding of basic nutrition, a food science expert will claim next week.
Anita Eves, a senior lecturer in food science at the University of Surrey, will tell the Catering for Health conference on Monday at Westminster Central Hall in London that the newer NVQ catering courses do not include nutrition as a required element.
While lecturers and trainers surveyed by the college said they were willing to teach nutrition, many said they lacked the time or resources to do this. Nutrition has also been squeezed out of the curriculum by newer disciplines such as information technology.
Eves believes the decline in nutritional education since 1985 means many younger caterers do not have the knowledge to provide healthy-eating options.
A survey of menus and chefs conducted by the university found that many dishes contained disproportionate levels of fat, especially in the form of cheese and pastry, with many cooks mistakenly viewing vegetarian dishes such as quiches as healthy options.
To attend the conference, contact the British Nutrition Foundation on 020 7404 6504.