Revised school meal standards published

23 June 2005
Revised school meal standards published

Revised nutritional standards for school meals would limit chips to one day a week, ban salt on counters and tables, and insist on free chilled water.

The new standards, published today, replace those developed in 1992 by the Caroline Walker Trust but this time in concert with the National Heart Forum (NHF). Since 1992 the number of overweight or obese children has doubled.

Although the guidelines have already been seen by the departments of education and health (which part-funded the work), it will not be known until August if they will be adopted as part of nutritional standards in England and Wales.

One sticking point could be the claim that improved nutrition can only be achieved by spending at least 70p on ingredients in primary schools and 80p in secondary schools. The Government has pledged to raise the spend in primary schools from 37p to 50p as part of a £280m investment to improve school food.

"Jamie Oliver's campaign dramatically exposed the woeful inadequacy of current minium standards for school food in England and Wales," said Paul Lincoln, chief executive of the NHF.

According to nutritionist Dr Helen Crawley, who wrote the guidelines: "Caterers should make a clear statement to the Government about what they need in financing to make this work."

As well as restricting the choice of processed foods, the standards would require caterers to minimise the loss of nutrients in the storage, preparation, cooking and serving of food.

The guidelines delinate the calorific and nutritional needs of children aged between five and 18. A fuller version will appear in the auntumn.

For more information see:

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