The School Food Trust (SFT) has issued a response to concerns from caterers over next summer's changes to school dinners, insisting that guidance due in the New Year will help them prepare.
From September 2008, primary schools in England will be expected to have adopted more stringent nutrient-based guidelines for school dinners, with secondary schools to follow a year later.
However, last month a group of school caterers wrote to the SFT demanding clarification of the currently "confusing" information available to them.
In a letter in response, the SFT has conceded that the diverse food provision available, especially in secondary schools, will result in much initial analysis work but argued that once done, and a databank of nutrient values established, menu planning would be manageable.
The Government backed organisation added that the results of two projects to support the development of menus that are nutrient compliant would be available shortly.
Guidance due from the SFT in early 2008 will showcase how caterers can implement a standardised approach to nutrient calculation of recipes.
It will also publish, within the next few months, the results of a pilot with 12 secondary schools that have sort to develop menu cycles compliant with the new regulations.
In the caterers' original letter from November they questioned if "the bigger picture has been lost" when it came to the new nutrient based guidelines for school meals.
By Chris Druce