U.K. Backs Down on Healthy School Food

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The new conservative government in Great Britain is doing all it can to promote unhealthy eating.

First, it backed down on traffic-light food labels.

Then, it took the food label regulatory functions away from its too-interventionist Food Standards Agency.

Now, it is reneging on regulations requiring schools to serve healthier foods:

Education Minister Nick Gibb has told MPs all new academies will not have to stick to tough rules limiting the fat, salt and sugar content in dinners ...when asked if academies would have to comply with nutritional standards for school meals ... Some existing academies are required to comply with these standards through their funding agreements. However, new academies will not be required to comply with nutritional standards for school meals. They will be free to promote healthy eating and good nutrition as they see fit.

Oh. Voluntary guidelines. We know all about those.

As a disappointed Jamie Oliver puts it, as he watches his work undone: "This will take us back to the days of junk food vending machines in schools and Turkey Twizzlers on the menu."

Presented by

Marion Nestle is a professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University. She is the author of Food Politics, Safe Food, What to Eat, and Pet Food Politics. More

Nestle also holds appointments as Professor of Sociology at NYU and Visiting Professor of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell. She is the author of three prize-winning books: Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health (revised edition, 2007), Safe Food: The Politics of Food Safety (2003), and What to Eat (2006). Her most recent book is Feed Your Pet Right: The Authoritative Guide to Feeding Your Dog and Cat. She writes the Food Matters column for The San Francisco Chronicle and blogs almost daily at Food Politics.

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