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WHAT?? Only 1% of packed lunches meet "food standards"??

(36 Posts)
LeonardWentToTheOffice Mon 03-Mar-14 19:28:31

One Show just now - a bold claim made by one of the men in the piece (sorry didn't catch name) but I am absolutely flabbergasted and totally disbelieving of his claim. He provided no evidence and I haven't looked into this further but I just think he made it up (possibly hmm )

Total disclaimer - I'm not a food expert but I am a mum.

Piece was about all infant children getting free school meals from September. This claim was made in response to the question what would you say to parents who think they can provide a good packed lunch for their children.

Snowdown Mon 03-Mar-14 19:36:08

I agree - where does this 1% come from and how is it compared to the school dinner that is actually served and consumed. Maybe a job for Tim at More or Less, radio 4?

LeonardWentToTheOffice Mon 03-Mar-14 19:36:58

It can't be just me that thinks they can provide a good packed lunch for their child. Am I really one of the hallowed 1% or am I deluded? For my ds(11) and from what I see from ds's school yes some really healthy food is on offer to the children but do they actually choose it or eat it??

Ours offers salads, jacket potatoes, veg (cubed - yuk) fruit and variety of mains. Many children opt for the jacket potato and just pick the cheeesy bit off the top. Don't take any salad or fruit but have one of the scrummy puds on offer.

If I pack ds up I can pack him a balance of foods he will like and more importantly I know exactly what he's eaten or it comes home in the box. This way I can insure he gets his veg, dairy, protein etc.

He's not a fussy eater but he's like me. Doesn't like eating off prison trays, can't bear drinking water out of glasses that smell

FrogbyAnotherName Mon 03-Mar-14 19:47:27

If they are referring to food safety standards, then they are probably correct.

Guidance (and law, in the case of food which is sold) clearly sets out the temperatures above which high-risk & ready to eat food such as sandwiches, yoghurts, cooked meat, cheese etc can be held for only a very limited period of time. Bacteria will multiple in the food at warmer temperatures and as the food is not going to be reheated to kill them, it increases the risk of food poisoning/food borne illnesses.

By the time school packed lunches are hauled out of the box/cloakroom and eaten at lunchbreak, most will be well above this maximum temperature, even with a cool pack.

But, I didn't see the show, so may have got the wrong end of the stick !

LeonardWentToTheOffice Mon 03-Mar-14 19:54:19

or water from jugs with bits in. Once they gave them off milk and claimed it was like that because it was organic hmm I don't know if we're just unlucky with our school food but they made such a big song and dance about the provider when they started. Previously had bought in food but school spent thousands( or more??) building own kitchen and launched own meals. Whenever I've been there I've been slightly appalled by smell, unhygienic hand washing facilities and dubious food storage.

Adikia Mon 03-Mar-14 20:07:25

What? 1% can't be right, I know that there are a lot of parents that don't give good packed lunches and can even believe that might be the majority but there's got to be more than 1% getting it right, unless Frogby is right and it's the way lunch is stored that's the issue not the content.

LeonardWentToTheOffice Mon 03-Mar-14 20:13:05

My point exactly. Unless the dinner ladies go back to the type we had at primary school in the 70s shock who made you sit there until you'd eaten every baked bean and pile of "greens" they cannot ensure a health lunch is had by all!!

No I don't think the implication was the safe storage of packed lunches. The emphasis was on the contents themselves.

Lilybensmum1 Mon 03-Mar-14 20:15:52

Don't think it can possibly be about food standards it's highly unlikely a kids lunch will have gone off or bred bacteria in this weather and at at this time of year, I think my child's lunch is balanced my DD has school meals once a week and it's always the same macaroni cheese, bread cue, carrot and flapjack for pud! The problem with school meals is that I'm not sure how balanced they are and if the children don't get their first choice they may get something they won't eat also, you can't be sure how much they eat with packed lunches is always know as they leave it in their lunch boxes.

I assume it won't be compulsory and why only infants anyway?

LeonardWentToTheOffice Mon 03-Mar-14 20:16:51

I've not heard Tim at More or Less, but I will listen out for him. He sounds like my kind of guy grin

LeonardWentToTheOffice Mon 03-Mar-14 20:22:28

Lunches for all infants but didn't say if it was compulsory. In our day (according to my mum) although they had to be paid for they were compulsory in infants. Juniors had one "sandwich table" seated 8 you had to get permission from the queen to have sandwiches. Mum was told no, no room for me. Until they scrapped hot dinners all together in about 1979. I remember we loved it when the dinner ladies were on strike. Mum would pack us up with cans of pop and all sorts!!

Of course I would never dream of putting any of the like in ds's lunch!!

Andcake Mon 03-Mar-14 20:26:16

Although I don't have a kid of packed lunch age yet - but work in research and have heard the 1% stat before. It's from a Leeds uni study in 2010
http://www.leeds.ac.uk/news/article/683/call_to_fill_nutrition_gap_in_the_school_lunchbox

Andcake Mon 03-Mar-14 20:27:33

Sorry link didn't work from app
www.leeds.ac.uk/news/article/683/call_to_fill_nutrition_gap_in_the_school_lunchbox

Snowdown Mon 03-Mar-14 20:30:11

More or Less Tim Harford explains - and sometimes debunks - the numbers and statistics used in political debate, the news and everyday life

He's well worth listening to but does tend to make you a bit cynical about statistics that often get carelessly thrown around.

Snowdown Mon 03-Mar-14 20:35:37

Do free school meals work?
Duration: 30 minutes
First broadcast: Friday 20 September 2013
All pupils at infant schools in England are to get free school lunches from next September, the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has announced. It follows a pilot study, which seemed to show that giving free food to primary school children was good for their academic performance. But Tim Harford discovers that a closer look at the evidence reveals the results were not that clear-cut.

www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03b2zbk

elliegoulding Mon 03-Mar-14 20:38:11

My DC's had school lunch today, meatballs, soggy white spaghetti, soggy green beans which they left and a slice of lemon cake ..... ive just made tomorrows packed lunch which is a Ham sandwich on brown bread, an apple, packet of crisps and a yoghurt with a bottle of weak squash ..... pretty crappy (by most peoples standards) but still way healthier than the school lunch!

LeonardWentToTheOffice Mon 03-Mar-14 20:39:26

Thanks for link Andcake. Yes this article contains that 1% figure. I still don't believe it.

"Simply concentrating on restricting the junk content of lunch boxes can be counter-productive - children at schools where crisps are restricted, for example, end up with lunch boxes containing more confectionery." Where did they get these lunches they quote their findings about. Surely this is not taken from a proper representative sample. What? All but 1% of parents do this?? This I do not believe.

Tartanpaint Mon 03-Mar-14 20:46:20

The study says something like 83% if children have packed lunches high in saturated fat, salt and sugar - so crisps, sweets, biscuits.

In DS's class it always shocks me just how much crap the kids eat. There seem to be no monitoring of packed lunches at all. There are a few parents like myself who provide a more balanced meal.

From what I've witnessed, school dinners are too high in sugar (who needs a daily pudding?) and too wheat orientated. They are generally far from perfect!

noramum Mon 03-Mar-14 21:04:56

DD moved today from school dinner to packed lunch. She moaned for a while so we checked each day for the first Spring half term to see what she ate.

Result - she ate 1/2 of the main or the jacket potato and the sweet pudding. The only meal she would eat in full was Friday's fish and chips. I am sure in theory the food met the standard but unless they force-feed the children they do not know if they eat this as well.

Now she has:
1 slice half/half bread with ham or cheese or coronation chicken (she is addicted to it)
a pot of fruit or some carrot sticks
a carton of juice, the only pure juice during the day
a 2-finger-kit kat or a jam sandwich or a small chocolate biscuit
a yoghurt

At least I know now what she eats.

LeonardWentToTheOffice Mon 03-Mar-14 21:07:55

Ds's school lunch Friday was sausages (their menu seems to contain a lot of processed meat) I don't know what with. The sausages were all red inside and another child had all red stuff on their plate. See this is another thing. If I were with ds I'd be able to ensure he was eating quite safely. I asked him if he asked about the red stuff he didn't. Even if he did he'd probably have been fobbed off. (See earlier post about so-called "organic" milk)

Typical lunch box: small salami wrap, sometimes tuna, tomorrow it's chicken. Half a pepper cut up. Frube. Baby bel. Cereal bar for morning snack. Carton Ribena. Better than what he'd actually eat from school.

Fuzzymum1 Mon 03-Mar-14 21:20:33

On the menu at DS's school today was beef grill in a bun and cubed potatoes followed by chocolate cake - basically burger and square chips. Delivered to school at least 45 minutes before lunch is served and kept warm in insulated boxes.

In his packed lunch he had wholegrain crackers, houmous, cucumber, carrot and red pepper, a yoghurt and a penguin. It was packed in an insulated bag with a freezer block and a bottle of water.

I know which I believe is more nutritious.

KinderBoris Mon 03-Mar-14 21:22:51

I don't believe this at all. School dinners are so much worse!

Retropear Mon 03-Mar-14 21:29:37

I'm actually starting to think there is some huge plot between catering companies and the gov to bully/sleepwalk us all into school dinners fir money reasons.

Today's school award winning school dinner was - burgar,wedgies,baked beans followed by fudge tart.

I sent in Quorn scotch eggs,chopped pepper,cucumber,carrot,yog,juice water and yes a cheese dipper.Now I'm sure the dipper was on the verboten list making my packed lunch 1 of the 99% however my dc today ate-

Weetabix,toast,juice and banana for breakfast,oatcakes and dried fruit for play,chicken casserole,veg and potatoes followed by rice pudding for tea.So said verboten dipper was part of a balanced day.

I also think actually my packed lunch was a whole lot healthier than the carb heavy,veg free school dinner.

It's a plot I tell you.

Nocomet Mon 03-Mar-14 21:32:57

Yes, but DD2 had crisps or a nasty sugar cereal bar at school and an apple when she got in.

If I put an apple in her lunch box she took one bite and raced off to play.

In front if CBBies she finished it!

I really wish schools would realise what DCs eat in school is nothing like the whole story.

A child might well eat chopped banana with breakfast, but bin one if it has one brown spot on it's skin at lunch.

Retropear Mon 03-Mar-14 21:33:30

Oh and Thursday's offerings are pizza/hot dog with potato salad followed by iced sponge.confused

They think we're all just plain stupid.

WhoWasThatMaskedWoman Mon 03-Mar-14 21:36:39

Part of the problem is that processed meat with nitrates in it (ham, salami etc) are pretty ubiquitous in the lunch boxes of non-Muslim carnivore households, so loads of them will be exceeding the weekly safe allowance (strictly speaking there is no safe dose actually, but there is an amount where the rind is considered acceptable). It rules out a lot of otherwise legit lunchboxes from being considered healthy.

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