Celebrity Squares School Meals

The Journal of the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health, May 2005 | Go to article overview

Celebrity Squares School Meals


Celebrity chef Jarriie Oliver was hailed a public health hero by the press at the end of March as the Government announced more money for school meals.

The announcement followed a media frenzy surrounding Mr Oliver's programme 'Jamie's School Dinners' and associated campaign Feed Me Better.

Mr Oliver launched his Feed Me Better 'white paper' at a Channel 4-run panel debate on 7 March. The document made five key demands: 'The Meals the Deal', meaning that dietary health promotion should focus on nutritional standards, rather than food types, such as fruit and vegetables; 'Ban the junk'; 'Big Love to Dinner Ladies' (an Oliver-esque way of saying that dinner ladies should be respected professionals); 'Teach Kids About Food'; and 'Double the Money' asking for a minimum budget of 70p per-meal and funds for staff training and kitchen refurbishment.

Following his struggles to persuade pupils in the London Borough of Greenwich to choose healthy food, Mr Oliver concluded that the choice being offered to children was not conducive to a healthy diet. He said: "My English teacher didn't come in and say 'What do you want to do today, guys?', because we'd have just said Viz and porn. That's the reality of it when you're 13."

Shortly after Mr Oliver visited 10 Downing Street, Education Secretary Ruth Kelly announced a minimum budget of 50p per meal in primary schools and 60p in secondary. She refused to go as far as banning junk food, though she acknowledged the case for restricting choice in a television interview. …

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