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EditorialsUp Front 10/05

Up Front 10/05

October is awash with food festivals. Not only is there Great British Food Fortnight, Seafood Week and British Cheese Week but locally there are food festivals in South Somerset, Exmoor and Dorset, as well as a liberal sprinkling of Apple Days throughout the month. Which makes it an opportune time for a new Government initiative to promote healthy eating in our schools. At the Labour Party conference in Brighton, education secretary Ruth Kelly is to announce new measures to curb the spread of junk food in schools. Turkey Twizzlers, as highlighted by Jamie Oliver in the Channel 4 series, Jamie’s School Dinners, are to banned, along with chicken nuggets and other ‘reformed’ meat products. Vending machines selling fizzy drinks, chocolates and crisps will also be banned and chips and ice cream are to be rationed. Fresh fruit and vegetables will be introduced with cafeteria-style lunch menus and head teachers will have to monitor the nutritional value of the food supplied to the children in their care. These changes will, of course, be ideal fodder for those that complain about a nanny state, but as government initiatives go, this one is not before its time. After decades of sophisticated marketing it may be hard to educate many of the parents who have grown up with the ease of processed, microwavable fast foods – perhaps the children will come home from school and help change perceptions. I may just have to dig out the research that suggested a glass of red wine and a bar of chocolate was healthy, and keep it on hand when little (or not so little) fingers start wagging.

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