17 June 2014
Last updated at 06:25
Pies, battered and fried food will be limited in the school food regulations
School meals in England will have to include at least one portion of vegetables a day – and no more than two portions of fried food each week.
Ministers have announced regulations for school food in state schools, which will apply from January 2015.
The regulations promote drinking water and limit the size of fruit juice servings to quarter pints (150ml).
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said the rules would “continue to restrict unhealthy foods”.
Schools will also have to provide a choice of fruit and vegetables as part of the new rules.
The school food regulations, designed to promote healthy eating, will be mandatory for local authority schools, new free schools and schools that convert to academies.
They will replace regulations introduced in the wake of TV chef Jamie Oliver’s campaign to improve the standard of school food.
The Department for Education said the previous rules had done “much to improve school food” but “were complicated and expensive to enforce”.
The revised regulations are intended to allow school cooks more “flexibility”.
The school meal requirements include:
- one or more portions of vegetables or salad as an accompaniment every day
- at least three different fruits and three different vegetables each week
- an emphasis on wholegrain foods in place of refined carbohydrates
- an emphasis on making water the drink of choice
- limiting fruit juice portions to quarter pints (150ml)
- restricting the amount of added sugars or honey in other drinks to 5%
- no more than two portions a week of food that has been deep-fried, batter-coated or breadcrumb-coated
- no more than two portions of food that include pastry each week.
“We know that children are continuing to eat too much saturated fat, sugar and salt,” said Susan Jebb, professor of diet and population health at Oxford University.
“It is vital that the food children are offered in schools is nutritious and helps them to learn about the basics of a healthy diet.”
Education Secretary Michael Gove said: “We now have a clear and concise set of food standards, which are easier for cooks to follow and less expensive to enforce. Crucially we have achieved this without any compromise on quality or nutrition.”
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: “The revised school food standards will allow schools to be more creative in their menus. They are easier for schools to understand and crucially they will continue to restrict unhealthy foods to ensure our children eat well.”
Christine Blower, leader of the National Union of Teachers, said it was a “missed opportunity” that it would not be mandatory for all schools.
The regulations will be voluntary for schools that became academies between 2010 and 2014.
“Parents of children in these schools will rightly be unhappy that the government is failing to deliver the same guarantee of minimum nutritional food standards for all schools,” she said.