Warning on plans for school meals

Government plans to regulate food in schools were in danger of being unworkable, delegates at the FWD’s Catersummit conference last week were warned.

Referring to a speech by the education secretary Ruth Kelly at the Labour Party conference, Bob Price, company secretary of the Food and Drink Federation, said: “Banning foods is neither a sensible nor an effective solution to tackling obesity.”

The education secretary set out plans to ban fizzy drinks, crisps and confectionery from schools by next September and to place restrictions, on what could be supplied in school meals.
Price said that what was required was a balanced diet and that banning food would not help children learn how to achieve a balanced diet.

He pointed out the industry had already removed vending machines from primary schools and had broadened the choice of products available in vending machines in secondary schools.
He said manufacturers had also reduced salt in food, but they had to consider levels where the consumer still found the products palatable.

He concluded: “Restrictions based on ‘quality’ considerations will be artificial and rely on subjective judgements. It is difficult to see how that is likely to lead to a single workable system for schools and caterers to operate in the future.”

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