Campaign for trans-free school meals
Thanks to Jamie Oliver's excellent TV series on school meals, the Government is finally making the right noises about healthy and wholesome school meals, for example with their consultation of early 2005.
tfX responded to the DfES's consultation on 29 March 2005, clearly setting out the case for the removal of hydrogenated oils from school food, and the monitoring of trans fat levels. Our submission can be seen here: DfES School Food Consulation - tfX submission.
In our response we also argue that saturated fats should be constrained, and that both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated oils, particularly those rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids, should be encouraged, and that these requirements should be mandatory on all school meal providers.
However the draft guidelines which emerged on 3 October 2005, Turning the Tables: Transforming School Food, completely fail to mention trans fats or hydrogenated oils. They come back to the grossly ignorant view that:
- all fat is bad fat
- saturated fat is even worse fat
- there are only two kinds of fat, saturated and unsaturated.
In fact of course fats are essential in the human diet, and an excellent source of dietary energy. It certainly is possible to get too much saturated fat, and many people eat an excess of omega-6 polyunsaturates. However there is no mention of the one truly toxic family of fats, trans fats, and their main dietary source which is hydrogenated vegetable oil. Nor is there any mention of the deficiency which most of the population suffers in omega-3 polyunsaturates, itself accentuated by trans fats.
The School Food Trust
More than half its members are part of, or close to, the UK food and catering industry. Could this explain the failure of the SFT to say anything at all about trans fats and hydrogenated oil? See our page on the SFT.
It is essential to make sure that the Government gets the message on the need to remove trans fats and hydrogenated oils from school foods, and to ensure sufficient omega-3 oils are present for the healthy development of juvenile brains, eyes and nervous systems. Please write to any / all of:
- Your MP - you can always write to your MP at House Of Commons, London SW1A 1AA. Ask them to draw the Education Secretary's attention to the need to these issues, and to ask her view of the matter. You can also go to www.writetothem.com to find out who your MP is.
- Education Secretary Ruth Kelly MP - same address
- The School Food Trust.
Please send us copies of responses received. See the Contact us page.