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School Meals

Volume 447: debated on Tuesday 13 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make a statement on the recommendations submitted to her Department by the School Meals Review Panel and the School Food Trust; and what assessment she has made of the impact the recommendations would have on the soft drinks industry. (66374)

On 19 May 2006 the Secretary of State announced a suite of new nutritional standards for school lunches and food and drink served at other times of the day.

These standards combine the recommendations of the School Meals Review Panel and the School Food Trust. New regulations for school lunches will mesh the existing standards in the Education (Nutritional Standards for School Lunches) (England) Regulations 2000 with the new food-based standards to produce interim food-based standards from September 2006. A subsequent set of regulations will set out the final food and nutrient-based standards which will apply to school lunches, and the standards for food served at other times of the day. A guide to introducing the food-based standards for lunch will be issued by the School Food Trust in late June.

We have published a full Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) which considers the financial impact that the new nutritional standards will have. In compiling the RIA, account was taken of the report written for the School Meals Review Panel (SMRP) by PricewaterhouseCoopers on the costs of implementing the Caroline Walker Trust's recommendations, which are closely mirrored by the recommendations of the SMRP.