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School Meals

Volume 447: debated on Monday 5 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what recent assessment he has made of the benefits of using omega 3 and 6 fish oil supplements in school meals. (73659)

The Food Standards Agency comments as follows:

“The Food Standards Agency is currently conducting a systematic review of research looking at the effect of nutrition and diet on performance and behaviour of children in schools. This includes investigating studies that have used omega 3 and 6 fish oil supplements in schools.

Government is committed to ensure that children are provided with the food and nutrients they require during the school day and as such has recently published minimum standards for school food.”

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what support he provides to councils who wish to introduce initiatives to improve the health benefits of school meals. (73660)

The School Food Trust will work with local authorities, and others, to understand and where possible overcome the barriers to transforming school food, and to develop a strategy to increase the demand for healthier food in schools. The School Food Trust will produce guidance for local authorities and schools. This will supplement the ‘Food in Schools Toolkit’ which includes materials and guidance on, for example, tuck shops, before/after school clubs, water provision and the dining room environment.

In addition DfES has:

published guidance on procuring healthy school meals and other school food;

established a School Food Reference Group, which consists mainly of local authority officials from across the country who are involved in school meals, to help identify issues and problems and share good practice;

compiled and made available a number of case studies to give examples of how particular schools and local authorities have implemented healthy eating initiatives;

put in place a Level 1 Vocationally Related Qualification which aims to give school cooks and caterers the basic knowledge and skills to deliver a healthier meals service. We are also developing qualifications at Levels 2 and 3 in cooking skills which will be available from September 2006 and form part of the Training and Development Agency’s Support Worker in Schools qualification.