Jamie Oliver kickstarts war on junk food as schools turn backs on vegetables

Jamie Oliver kickstarts war on junk food as schools turn backs on vegetables


Jamie Oliver is relaunching his war on school grub after the pandemic fuelled a resurgence of pizza, burgers, chips and cake on kids’ plates.

The celebrity chef is fuming after research by his charity revealed schools have turned their backs on healthy meals during the Covid crisis.

Only 40% of schools are meeting the food standards Oliver campaigned so hard for 15 years ago.

Just 30% of families said their school only “sometimes“ serves vegetables while 13% said their children were getting none at all, according to the chef’s Bite Back food charity.

Schools have also returned to selling fizzy drinks and sweets while Starbucks has set up franchises in some flogging paninis and cakes.

Oliver wants an army of Government inspectors to monitor school meals.

“What gets measured gets done,“ he said.

“Right now it’s nobody’s job to monitor and enforce school food standards.

“Kids don’t want more chips, cheap chicken and white bread sandwiches.

“They want decent food at school – not a return to the beige days.“

Oliver fears Covid is being cited as an excuse for limited choice, a lack of hot-food options and reliance on pre-packed sandwiches.

Caterers say they are having to put prices up because of shortages linked to post-Brexit supply issues.

Nick Capstick, chief executive of the White Horse Federation of 32 schools in south-west England, complained his supplier was providing cheap processed sandwiches and rotting bananas.

He had seen pupils return after lockdown overweight and with `appalling’ teeth as a result of eating too much sugary grub and said there was a `need for Government intervention in school food’.

“In the wake of Covid this is a call to arms. We need a reset of school dinners, and if that does not happen, we will have new problems to deal with,“ he said.

He has agreed to chair a review of school dinners with input from head teachers, charities backed by stars including footballer Marcus Rashford, and caterers and suppliers.

School dinners have come a long way since Jamie’s original documentary in 2005 which aimed to promote child health inside and outside the classroom.

Oliver, 46, said of his health-food bid when he first launched his campaign that there “were standards for dog food but not school food” and that while Ofsted judges school performance on English and Maths results “we want to see health, activity and wellbeing factored in as well.”

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