Channel 4’s Dispatches highlights dangers of flawed nutritional guidelines

‘50% meat’ sausage still within government guidelines, says school caterer

Channel 4’s recently-aired Dispatches programme ‘The School Food Scandal’ has shown how adherence to the government’s nutritional guidelines is still allowing schools in the maintained sector to prepare and sell low-cost, low-grade food to students each day.

Echoing Jamie Oliver’s dissatisfaction with the nutritional guidelines, Steve Quinn, MD of school catering company Cucina, gave a graphic demonstration of how it was possible for school caterers to comply with the regulations, yet still serve sub-standard fare.

Presenting two versions of the classic dish Bangers and Mash, both of which would be deemed to be within the guidelines, Quinn highlighted the essential difference that an extra outlay of just 30p could make to the nutritional quality of school meals.

The first of the two dishes, produced at a cost of around 50p was, said Quinn, “…of very poor quality.”

“This sausage is just 50% meat. The rest is filler, etcetera. The mashed potato is made with water and the gravy is made with a packet.”

The second dish, produced for around 80p contained: “Red Tractor meat, potato produced from fresh potatoes, a pan gravy. The quality of this one is there to be seen and tasted.”

Quinn stated that the inferior of the two dishes was the one which was much more common in school canteens throughout the UK. Such practices, he said, threatened to undermine much of the progress that has been made to date.”

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