Don Foster MP*


Don has warmly welcomed the recent focus on school meals, but has slammed Labour pre-election "mini manifesto" for children as being too little too late.

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“Worried parents and campaigners have been highlighting the need for healthier school meals and a crackdown on junk food advertising for years, but these calls have been falling on the deaf ears of Government Ministers.

“It has taken Jamie Oliver’s high profile TV series and stinging criticism to force the government into action, which may be little more than a cheap pre-election stunt.

“While I welcome the new pledges of cash for kitchens, equipment and staff training, and a School Meals Trust to improve nutrition, these changes do not guarantee that food cooked with better quality ingredients will be put on our children’s plates.

“For eight years under the Prime Minister’s stewardship, our nation’s children have been eating the most appalling food, with low nutritional standards. Some of our poorest children are being fed stuff which, quite frankly, a lot of people wouldn’t even put in their garbage can.

“But in B&NES;, we’ve been trying to address the issue for some time, with the council taking an active interest in the well-being of our children.”

Lib Dem councillor, Andrew Furse, Chairman of the Education, Youth, Culture & Leisure Overview and Scrutiny Committee in B&NES;, added:

“It is essential that healthy eating for children starts from a young age. That is why the council is carrying out a Primary School Meals Review, with a focus on good quality, local ingredients, and we welcome feedback from parents and staff.

“It is a shame that, nationally, the change to improve how our children are fed at school can only come with the Government jumping on the Jamie Oliver band-wagon.”


Notes to Editors

The Education Secretary, Ruth Kelly, has said that millions of pounds earmarked for primary schools in the Budget last week would go towards building new school kitchens and modernising old ones. An aide to Ms Kelly admitted that the increased spending on school meals themselves would not amount to vast sums for ingredients. “There will be more money to help improve school meals, but we are not pumping vast sums in for new ingredients”,,2-1536385,00.html

Jamie Oliver exposed the poor quality of ingredients of school meals in his Channel 4 series, Jamie’s School Dinners. He revealed, for example, that the London Borough of Greenwich was spending just 37 pence on ingredients for its meals.

Don Foster has put his name to a Parliamentary Motion which calls for processed food to be banned from school meal menus and for the Government to focus on implementing a healthy diet-exercise balance in schools.

During his time as the Liberal Democrat Shadow Transport Secretary, Don Foster also conducted research that showed that if all children who were driven less than a mile to school walked instead, then the nation would shed the equivalent weight of 30,000 John Prescotts.

A Primary School Meals Review by the ‘Education, Youth, Culture & Leisure Overview and Scrutiny Committee’, chaired by Councillor Andrew Furse, began in November 2004.

B&NES; Council has recently sent a letter to all kitchen staff, detailing changes to ingredients and processes. They include:
- Adding grated carrot to minced lamb dishes

- Adding extra veg under the cheese in pizzas

- Curry / sweet & sour sauces must be home made, not from packets

- Cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli and swede must be fresh, not frozen

- Potatoes must all be fresh, including mash; dried potato is for emergencies only

- Roast potatoes, where possible, must be over cooked, not fried

- Artificial colours must no longer be used in sweet sauces

- At least ¼ of the flour used must be wholemeal

- Apples used for puddings must be fresh or tinned, not dried

This article published: 22/03/2024

Published by Bath Liberal Democrats, 31 James St West, Bath, BA1 2BT. Printed and hosted by JPC Infonet, 2 St Georges Works, Trowbridge, Wiltshire, BA14 8AA. Your Privacy._blank

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