Monday, 22 June 2009

Government, tuck shops, and nutrition

In August, the Nutritional Requirements for Food and Drink in Schools (Scotland) Regulations 2008 will come into force. This means that all food and drink provided by schools complies with strict (and yes, I do mean strict) requirements specified by Scottish government ministers. Which means that politicians are micro-managing schools. All food sold in tuck shops must meet the following requirements:

Snacks
Pre-packaged snacks based on potatoes, vegetables or cereals (crisps, corn snacks, tortilla chips, pretzels, sweetened or salted pop corn, prawn crackers, flavoured rice cakes, Bombay mix, salted nuts and seeds) must meet the following criteria and can only be sold or provided out with the lunch time service:
* pack size no more than 25g
* no more than 22 g fat per 100g
* no more than 2g saturates per 100g
* no more than 0.6g sodium per 100g
* no more than 3g total sugar per 100g

Drinks
Sugary or diet fizzy drinks, squashes, flavoured waters, sports drinks and any drinks with added sugar are not permitted.
Acceptable Drinks are
- Plain, Still, and Sparkling Water - in any quantity
- Pure Fruit Juice, Vegetable Juice and Blends/Smoothies - though these can only be sold in quantities up to 200ml.
- Pure fruit juice & water combinations - but these must have a minimum of 50% fruit juice, and a maximum of 200 ml fruit juice and 20g sugar per portion, and, (of course) no added sugar.
- Milk & Yoghurt Blends, but these must have a maximum of 1.8g fat per 100ml, 10g sugar per 100ml, and 20g sugar per portion.

(Needless to say, that means no full cream milk. It takes me back to my school days when we were given milk to drink - and it was full cream milk.)

The irony is that since these regulations do not apply to what pupils bring in from home (thankfully!), they will probably have very little affect on their overall diet.

They don’t affect lunches either. There are separate regulations for school lunches which are already in force, though these regulations didn’t prevent one pupil at my local school from having both a bowl of rhubarb crumble and a chocolate mousse for his lunch one day.

It is truly amazing what politicians manage to come up with. It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that they have too much time on their hands.

4 comments:

Renegade Parent said...

"The irony is that since these regulations do not apply to what pupils bring in from home (thankfully!), they will probably have very little affect on their overall diet."

It's OK though, when we're at home we have those wonderful television adverts to inform us that - hold onto your seat Young Mr Brown - if you feed children portion sizes that are too big, and if they exercise too little, then fat will build up!

According to several commenters on my blog, there are now people from the same inititave conducting door to door enquiries to ascertain what parents are feeding their children. So too much money, as well as time, I think - Lisa

Maire said...

Yes and as renegade parent said, on Twitter. I posted this to my husband at work and he replied wistfully "Where do they find the time".

My reply "They save a lot of time by never researching their opinions." :(

Young Mr. Brown said...

"They save a lot of time by never researching their opinions."

Good one! I wish I had thought of that.

Yes, Lisa, they do have too much money. And if someone asks the question "Where do they find the money?" - well, even I can answer that one.

bethyada said...

The ban on sodium is interesting. The evidence is not that strong. A recent BMJ article not overly convincing yet the editorial was calling for increased state prohibitions of salt.

I think salt will turn out to be safe for most healthy people.