The Scottish Government is to change nutritional standards in schools to include more fruit and vegetables and less processed red meat and sugar on menus.
Scotland will become the first part of the UK to set maximum limits for consumption of red processed meat over the course of the school week in a move that helps make school food healthier.
School food regulations will be amended to ensure:
- a minimum of two full portions of vegetables and a full portion of fruit are offered as part of a school lunch, with full portions of fruit and or vegetables also available in tuck shops for example
- a maximum amount of red and processed red meat provision - such as bacon, ham and pepperoni - in school lunches to help reduce exposure to nitrites
- removal of fruit juice and smoothies from primary and secondary schools to help reduce sugar intake.
In response to the move, Professor Steve Turner, Officer for Scotland for the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) said:
"More than 28% of children in Scotland overweight or obese, and with research telling us that the food and drink they see strongly influences the food choices they make and how much they eat, this is a positive move that will help in the fight against obesity. This standard gives children and parents a clear and positive message about what food groups are healthy.
Obesity is an issue that has rippled through communities, not just in Scotland but right across the UK. It is contributing to rising numbers of children suffering with associated conditions like type two diabetes and breathing problems. We now need to see our neighbouring governments follow Scotland’s lead by mirroring this move, but they can also go further. They must also protect children outside the school gates by banning the advertising of foods high in salt, sugar and fat on television and online before 9pm.”
The regulations will come into effect by autumn 2020 to allow councils time to plan their menus and supply chains.