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Cornish School Dinners Row

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5:12pm 8th November 2012

Cornish parents lay into school dinner portions, saying their children are being left hungry.

It is as Pirate FM learns a third of south west mums and dads do not feel they get enough information on what their kids are eating.

Half want standards to be better monitored.

Hannah from Perranwell Station is not happy:

"They're just simply given enough food. The price keeps going up and up and up and up, by about 10p a term, and the portions they give a reception child is the same as they give a year six child. I don't think they're good value anymore.

She agrees information coming home needs to be more comprehensive:

"I had no idea about the quantity issue. It was from hearing my kids say they were still hungry after dinner and I then bothered to go in a speak to the school chefs. When it's £5 a day pretty much for two children you expect a decent meal for that and we're not getting that anymore"

In a statement her school's provider Eden Foodservice said:

"Eden Foodservice is committed to delivering quality school meals to the schools for which we provide a service across Cornwall. Portion sizes and menu options are based on the Government's Nutritional Standards for school meals and in line with laid down contract specifications. These are monitored regularly by various parties to ensure we are meeting the necessary requirements in terms of portion size, quality and value for money. We are aware of issues raised at one particular school and are working closely with all parties to understand and resolve these specific issues."

Truro nutritionalist Frances Paull says standards are getting better:

"It is very important for children to have good nutrition at lunchtime. It's not difficult. It really isn't.

"Jamie Oliver did a lot to wake up the schools and made them realise they can't just give them a few chips and children are getting more adventurous now anyway. Getting them to eat spaghetti and a nice bolognese sauce, children like it."

She thinks there should be spot checks on canteens to make sure standards are being met:

"The schools should do this work themselves and not rely on the government. It should be part of the standards that they have to keep up."

Cornwall Council said:

"School meals in Cornwall are provided through a number of different providers.  The Council has a contract to provide meals to 197 schools through Chartwells, while other schools use a variety of providers, either individually or in clusters.

"The Council works closely with Chartwells to ensure that the meals provided in schools are nutritional and balanced for children.  All meals are required to follow national nutritional guidelines set by the School Food Trust. (http://www.schoolfoodtrust.org.uk/the-standards). The menus are guaranteed free of transfats and allergens and are nutritionally balanced between carbohydrates, protein and vegetables.

"The menus have been recently reviewed and further improvements will be in place for January 2013. The Council also has a commitment from Chartwells, that all menus will be compliant with the Bronze Food for Life standard from Easter 2013.

"School menus are published in advance and the information is shared with pupils and parents. Portion sizes and quality of meals are monitored as part of the Local Authority school meals contract.

"The provision of the LA school meals contract is monitored on a regular basis by highly trained monitoring officers who check the standard and quality of the food, health and safety practices in the kitchen, which includes food, health and hygiene.

"The price of a meal has not increased in the LA school meals service for the past two years and there are no plans at this time to increase the cost."

5:12pm 8th November 2012

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