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School Food Trust's guidelines must not relax if they are to succeed

13 February 2007 by
School Food Trust's guidelines must not relax if they are to succeed

The School Food Trust's (SFT) new nutritional guidelines must not waver if they are to succeed in cutting obesity in children, warned the organisation's new chair Prue Leith.

Speaking at networking organisation Arena's 13th annual Savoy Lecture at the Savoy in London last night, Leith praised food manufacturers for their efforts to improve the healthiness of products, but insisted the SFT's standards could not be relaxed.

Leith said that McCain was a good example of a food manufacturer, which had made giant steps towards healthier products by reducing the fat content of its chips by up to 39%.

This, she said made a portion of McCain's chips equivalent to a baked potato with cheese. Leith said that McCain was "understandably indignant" that its chips were still barred from school menus more than once a week.

However, she added that the SFT wanted to change children's eating habits and that meant restricting chips, whether they were as "healthy as a carrot or not".

"We want schools to embrace the spirit of the legislation as well as the rules," she added.

Leith, the first ever woman to deliver the Savoy Lecture, advocated an all round approach to improving children's diets involving children, parents, head teachers, caterers, food manufacturers and restaurateurs.

But she added the SFT needed to capture the current political goodwill towards reforming school meals. "The Government's interest could flag," she added. "So we must give reforming school meals some real welly at the moment."

BBC survey finds school meal uptake down since introduction of healthier meals >>

Poorer kids reject new school menus >>

To view more news and analysis on school meals go here >>

Arena website >>

By James Garner

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