Caterers slam £1m funding for improving school meals

08 September 2004
Caterers slam £1m funding for improving school meals

Government plans to invest £1.1m to improve school meals have been lambasted by caterers for being far too thrifty.

Nutritional standards take a back seat when burgers are on the menu
Roger Denton, head of catering for the London Borough of Sutton, said the amount was not enough if the Government wanted to ensure all schoolchildren in England and Wales were being provided with healthy meals. "The Government has got to focus on what exactly it wants to do with school meals. When it does it will see that £1m is too little," said Denton. Neil Porter, chairman of the Local Authority Caterers Association, said: "In making comparisons with what has been invested in other areas of Britain to help improve school meals, such as the £63m in Scotland over three years, it is questionable what could possibly be achieved with £1.1m in a country the size of England." According to organic food campaigner the Soil Association, the Government would need to invest at least £200m a year to reform nutritional standards in England and Wales. The Government's plans to invest in school meals came as the Department for Education and Skills published its Healthy Living Blueprint for Schools earlier this week. The report admits that nutritional standards for secondary schools, which were introduced just three years ago, are not working and should be revised. It proposes that salt, sugar and fat levels in school meals should be lowered and more should be done to encourage children to eat fruit and vegetables. School caterers have welcomed the Food Standards Agency's (FSA) research into the nutritional content of children's packed lunches. The FSA's findings show that children's lunch boxes can contain up to double the recommended daily intake of saturated fat and sugar. Three out of four packed lunches fail to meet the official nutritional standards required of school dinners. *Source: Caterer & Hotelkeeper magazine, 9 September 2004*
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