Jamie Oliver's lunch campaign may backfire

June 10, 2012 at 11:52 PM

LONDON, June 10 (UPI) -- Celebrity TV chef Jamie Oliver exposed unhealthy food in school lunches, but his efforts may have inadvertently led to worse food, a British official said.

Prue Leith, the restauranteur and former British government food adviser, told the Hay Festival the idea behind the chef's campaign was praiseworthy, but a 2009 study suggested the number of children eating school meals dropped by 400,000 since 2005, The Sunday Telegraph reported.

Leith said she once checked on child's lunchbox and it contained a can of Coke, a packet of biscuits, a Kit Kat, two sets of pink-and-white sugar false teeth and another sugary treat.

Unfortunately, many parents are supplying their children with worse lunches than the schools supplied.

Oliver's work on TV and a documentary highlighted than many school lunches could have been healthier and eventually he met with Tony Blair, who was prime minister at the time, and the British government allocated $435 million over three years to invest in proper kitchens in schools, Leith said.

In addition, 1-in-4 schools having a cooking club and every child in a state school can learn to cook, but often parents do not think it is important, Leith said.

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