School Catering MD attacks poor policing of nutritional guidelines in schools
Over 90% of Maintained Schools are almost certainly in breach, says Cucina boss
Steve Quinn, Managing Director of school catering company Cucina has launched an attack on the way that the current nutritional guidelines are being enforced in maintained schools, stating that in his opinion, around 90% of all schools were in breach of these mandatory standards.
Responding to the conclusions of a recent study by The School Food Trust that 9 out of 10 academies that were selling at least one of the high sugar/salt/fat snack foods outlawed by the current nutritional guidelines for maintained schools, Mr Quinn said:
“Not being bound by the guidelines, the academies in School Food Trust survey were able to respond honestly and admit that they were serving unhealthy snack foods prohibited bythe guidelines. But it’s a different story for maintained schools. I know that many are in breach of the guidelines. But what is being done? Nothing that I can see.That needs to change right now.”
Mr Quinn also called for a complete revision of the guidelines, saying: “Let’s stop shooting from the hip and engage in some smarter thinking here.
“Why, for instance, are schools allowed to serve spaghetti bolognese each day, but burgers only once a fortnight? The nutritional value of any food item depends on the quality of its ingredients. Our menus undergo careful nutritional analysis and I can state for a fact that the burgers we sell - with the ingredients we put in them - are just as high in nutritional value as our spaghetti bolognese.”
Mr Quinn added that under-enforcement of the mandatory guidelines threatened to undo much of the good work that had been done by his and other companies in improving nutrition in schools. He further stated that he hoped Jamie Oliver and Education Minister Michael Gove would look to use the work of leading school food companies in dealing with these important issues.
Cucina operates 37 school and academy restaurants, each with its own trained chef.
Steve Quinn is an experienced food professional with 26 years in food and catering.