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Oliver attacks Government over school meals

16 February 2005 by

TV chef Jamie Oliver has slated the Government's record on school meals.

In his Feed Me Better manifesto, launched today, the 29-year-old celebrity chef urges the Government to boost spending on school dinners, scrap junk food and pay dinner ladies more.

The five-point programme was drawn up by Oliver while working on his new Channel 4 series, Jamie's School Dinners, which is filmed at Kidbrooke School, Greenwich, London.

"Many of the kids can tell you about drugs but don't know what celery or courgettes taste like," Oliver said.

The average spend on a school meal is currently 35p. The owner of London restaurant Fifteen wants this raised to "half a quid a kid".

In a bid to raise food awareness among schoolchildren, Oliver wants cooking be put back on the curriculum. The manifesto declares that kids should learn "how food comes from farms, not packets".

Oliver is not alone in campaigning for urgent action. Labour MP Geraint Davies published a private member's bill yesterday, which called for new tougher nutritional standards and for school meals standards to be included in Ofsted inspections.

Last week Education Secretary Ruth Kelly issued a holding statement on school meals, which was prompted by Oliver's forthcoming TV programme.

Her proposals included measures to curb sugar, fat and salt levels in kids' food, greater control for parents over what their children eat, and a new school food trust.

Jamie's School Dinners starts on 23 February at 9pm.

by Tom Bill

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