New ‘fresh and healthy’ menu for school dinners

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A new menu set to hit school dining rooms across East Sussex has received a prestigious national award which recognises fresh, healthy food.

The meal plan, which will be served up to youngsters from September, has received a bronze award under the Food For Life Catering Mark scheme.

The new menu has been created by East Sussex County Council’s meals contractor, Chartwells, which has just won two new contracts to feed the 17,000 children who currently enjoy school meals across the county.

The award is given to caterers who guarantee the food they’re serving is freshly-prepared, ethically-sourced and free from controversial additives.

Cllr Nick Bennett, county council lead member for learning and school effectiveness, said, “The standard of school meals is higher than it’s ever been and there is a real ambition to provide good nutrition, balance and of course food that pupils will enjoy eating.

Across England, 30 per cent of children aged between two and 15 are overweight or obese, and healthy school meals are a vital tool in our armoury for combating obesity and food poverty, and the resultant health risks linked to them.

“The Catering Mark is a highly-respected, independent guarantee that the food is healthy, nutritious and ethically sourced, and this accolade will hopefully convince even more parents of the value of school meals .”

The bronze award is given to caterers who guarantee: meals contain no undesirable food additives or hydrogenated fats; 75 per cent of dishes are freshly prepared; meat comes from farms which satisfy UK welfare standards; eggs are laid by cage-free hens; menus are seasonal; training is provided for all catering staff and no GM ingredients are used.

Chartwells, which has been the council’s meals supplier for six years, successfully bid for the tender for two contracts for primary and secondary schools respectively, which will run for four years, with an option for further one-year extension terms.