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Caterers blasted over obesity report

27 May 2004
Caterers blasted over obesity report

School caterers and the food industry have come under attack from MPs for their part in fuelling the country's growing obesity epidemic.

A new report from the Health Select Committee places schools in the front line in the battle against obesity and is calling for changes to school diets and a greater emphasis on food education.

The report, published today, recommends a reduction in the promotion and availability of unhealthy foods in schools and claims that school children are being bombarded with opportunities to buy fizzy drinks, sweets and crisps from vending machines at schools.

The committee of MPs makes several recommendations that directly affect school caterers and the food industry at large.

It is asking for an Ofsted inspection of the food technology curriculum to culminate in a return of cooking lessons in schools. Lessons should include how to cook healthily and should not be an optional extra, says the report.

The report also calls for the introduction of nutritional policies across all English schools and nutrient-based standards for school breakfasts and new standards for school lunches, as in Scotland.

Outside of schools the report calls for fast-food outlets to offer more fruit and salads.

by Samantha McClary

For more on how the committee's recommendations will affect the industry see next week's Caterer, but to have your say on the report, e-mail samantha.mcclary@rbi.co.uk

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