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Sustain welcomes stronger nutrition standards for Government Food Buying

Sustain welcomes the proposals to strengthen of the nutritional guidelines in response to consultation on Government Buying Standards for Food and Catering, and calls for stronger enforcement.  Read the full submission.

Photo credit: Pexels

Photo credit: Pexels

Sustain has welcomed proposals from the Department of Health to strengthen nutritional guidelines for government food buying and catering, from central government departments to hospital, prison and school food, but says standards have greatest impact when they are fully enforced.

Amongst the proposals welcomed by Sustain are:

  • increasing the number of meat, bread, soup, cooking sauces and ready meals included in the government salt reduction targets from 50% to 75%, and making this mandatory - Sustain welcomes this as a step in the right direction but believes 100% of these products should meet maximum salt targets.
  • making it mandatory for half of desserts to have at least 50% fruit by weight, whilst not allowing fresh fruit itself to be included in the calculation of total desserts.
  • ensuring appropriate portion sizes of products like fruit juice and confectionery.

However Sustain's response also raises concerns about the lack of enforcement of buying standards. It points to its own research into hospital food in London, which revealed that only 50% of hospitals were meeting the Government Buying Standards Framework in 2017. Parents have previously expressed concerns to Sustain's SUGAR SMART and Children's Food Campaign that their children's schools are serving too many sugary desserts at lunch time, and continuing to serve and sell other unhealthy food and drink at breakfast clubs, break time snacks, sports and fundraising events. At present there is no formal scheme or agency assigned to conduct independent monitoring or inspection of compliance with School Food Standards.

The Government consultation closes on Tuesday 13 August 2019.

Read Sustain's full response.




Published 12 Aug 2019

Children's Food Campaign: Better food and food teaching for children in schools, and protection of children from junk food marketing are the aims of Sustain's high-profile Children's Food Campaign. We also want clear food labelling that can be understood by everyone, including children.

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