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British junk food rules an example to follow

22 May 2005

British junk food rules an example to follow

With many New Zealand's children consuming 10 teaspoons of fat and 20 of sugar from tuck shop lunches it is time the Government followed the lead of Britain and removed unhealthy food from schools, the Green Party says.

The British government published guidelines over the weekend removing school dinners that are high in fat and salt, as well as chocolate, potato crisps and fizzy drinks. The move followed a campaign by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.

Green Party Health Spokesperson Sue Kedgley says with the New Zealand suffering an obesity epidemic tuck shops needed similar guidelines to get healthy foods into school lunches.

"We have just published the second of our school lunch surveys and were alarmed to find that despite a year of publicity little had changed in the quality of food being sold to our children.

"The staple foods on offer in most schools we surveyed were pies, hot dogs, sausage rolls, chips, biscuits, donuts, cake and chocolate," Ms Kedgley said.

"This means that many children could easily be consuming the equivalent of 10 teaspoons of fat and 20 of sugar in a single school lunch," she says.

The 2006 survey showed that of the 50 schools surveyed 90 percent of were selling cookies, cakes, chocolate and donuts; 85 percent were selling pies, hotdogs, sausage rolls and 63 percent were selling chips. Almost 70 percent of schools do not sell water and there is no fruit on sale in 68 percent of schools.

Most schools sell lunches everyday, meaning that children are able to eat unhealthy lunches everyday if they chose to, or if their parents are unable to make lunches

"It is clear that despite all the publicity around obesity and associated illnesses like type 2 diabetes, schools will not easily make changes to their menus. It is time the Government followed Britain's lead and issued guidelines so that the option of selling unhealthy food was removed," Ms Kedgley says.

This Wednesday Yves Bur, the Vice President of the National Assembly of France, is coming to the Health select committee to talk about initiatives by the French government to reduce obesity there.

"The French government has removed all vending machines selling fizzy drinks from all schools in France. This is the sort of decisive leadership we need here in New Zealand, Ms Kedgley says.

ENDS

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