The new standards for school food have been introduced to:
- Improve the nutrition of school children
- Reduce health inequalities related to diet
- Decrease the levels of obesity and diet-related disease in later life
- Improve eating patterns for the future by forming healthier attitudes.
The standards, as recommended by the School Food Trust (see http://www.schoolfoodtrust.org.uk/content.asp?ContentId=256) are as follows:
- No confectionary including chocolate, chocolate products, sweets, cereal bars and coated dried fruit will be sold in schools
- No bagged savoury snacks other than nuts and seeds (without added salt or sugar) will be sold in schools
- A variety of fruit and vegetables should be available in all school food outlets. This could include fresh, dried, frozen, canned or juiced varieties
- Children and young people must have easy access at all times to free, fresh drinking water in schools
The only other drinks available will be:
- Water (still or sparkling)
- Milk (skimmed or semi-skimmed)
- Pure fruit juices
- Yogurt and milk drinks (with less than 5% added sugar)
- Drinks made from combinations of (i) to (iv) above
- Low calorie hot chocolate
NB – Artificial sweeteners can be used only in yoghurt and milk drinks; or combinations containing yogurt or milk.
The standards will be mandatory for all schools in the UK by September 2007 and schools and caterers are being advised to make changes throughout the year in preparation.