In June 2014, Education Secretary Michael Gove launched a brand new set of food standards for schools. They became mandatory in all state managed schools as of January 2015. The work to create these standards was led by Susan Jebb, Professor of Diet and Population Health at Oxford University.
The changes come with a fresh approach to how menus are put together and follows extensive trials and research. 90% of school cooks who participated in the trials said that these new standards were easier to implement.
Between 2006 and 2009, a previous set of standards were introduced and whilst they went some way to making improvements, they did not allow cooks much in the way of creativity. They involved use of a complex computer system and proved, in some cases, expensive to enforce.
In terms of nutrition, cooks have praised the new school food standards for allowing them to deliver the expected levels of nutrients and energy that growing children require.
These new school food standards go some way to helping cooks create school meals that engage with children and educate them on the sort of nutrition that they are expected to consume.
What do the new standards include?
- One or more portions of vegetables or salad as an accompaniment every day
- At least 3 different fruits, and 3 different vegetables each week
- An emphasis on wholegrain foods in place of refined carbohydrates
- An emphasis on making water the drink of choice
- No more than 2 portions a week of food that has been deep fried, batter coated, or breadcrumb coated
- No more than 2 portions of food which include pastry each week
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said “If you speak to heads, teachers and cooks about the school meals they provide, they want to be given a little bit more freedom to make their own choices.”
Further changes in legislation also state that milk must be offered to all pupils in state schools. The low-fat milk which is the equivalent of semi-skimmed milk is to made available to all primary and secondary school pupils. Children in receipt of free school meals do not have to pay.
Here at Education Catering Support Services, we are partnering with schools to ensure that they are meeting these new standards. To ensure that your school is adhering to the latest school food standards, contact Karen to discuss your requirements.