Chef chides gov't on school food standards

Nov. 25, 2011 at 9:02 PM
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LONDON, Nov. 25 (UPI) -- TV chef Jamie Oliver has accused Britain's Education Secretary Michael Gove of undermining healthy school food standards.

Oliver, who led a successful campaign to have healthier options for students in England's schools, said Gove is allowing academy schools, which do not have to abide by state regulations, to serve "unhealthy food," the BBC reported Friday.

"The bit of work that we did which is law was a good bit of work for any government. So to erode it, which is essentially what Mr. Gove is doing -- his view is we let schools do what they want," Oliver told the BBC.

The Local Authority Catering Association, which services some caterers for the academies, said it is being asked to provide some unhealthy foods.

"Our members are telling us that they have been approached by academies to relax the rules and as providers to hundreds of thousands of schools we are concerned," Linda Mitchell, chairwoman of the association, said. "They are being asked to put confectionery and other snacks back, especially at mid-morning. It is the return of the sausage roll to schools."

Gove said he trusts schools to act in the best interests of students and has no reason to believe the academies are not providing healthy, balanced meals that meet current nutritional standards.

"As part of the broader freedoms available to academies, I trust the professionals to act in the best interests of their pupils," Gove said. "I understand from the School Food Trust that some of the best schools in terms of attitudes to food and meals are the academies."

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