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School Meals

Education and Skills written question – answered on 5th April 2005.

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Photo of Professor Ross Cranston Professor Ross Cranston Labour, Dudley North

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what advice she (a) has given and (b) plans to give to schools on (i) additives in school meals and (ii) vending machines selling food in schools; and if she will make a statement.

Photo of Derek Twigg Derek Twigg Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education and Skills) (Schools)

The Secretary of State has not given advice to schools on additives in school meals. Subject to meeting the requirements of mandatory school lunch standards, local education authorities are responsible for deciding whether lunches should be free from additives. This responsibility is transferred to the governing body of schools that have a budget for school lunches delegated to them.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is currently carrying out research into the impact of artificial colourings and preservatives on children's behaviour. This Department works closely with FSA and will carefully consider the results of their research, due for publication in March 2007.

DfES and DH have today issued guidance on healthy practice in school vending through the Food in Schools programme. Details can be found on the Food in Schools' website at: www.foodinschools.org/

There is separate guidance on commercial sponsorship, Commercial activities in schools: best practice principles, which was published in 2001 by DfES in conjunction with the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers (ISBA) and the Consumers' Association. The principal aim of this publication, aimed at parents, teachers, school governing bodies, LEAs and businesses was to encourage consideration by all parties of a range of issues and to ensure that commercial objectives are consistent with genuine educational benefits. The guidance is to be updated after consultation over the next few months.

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