Dispatches programme highlights grey area of school nutritional guidelines

Dispatches programme highlights grey area of school nutritional guidelines

Dispatches programme highlights grey area of school nutritional guidelines

The Dispatches programme that recently aired on Channel 4 entitles ‘The School Food Scandal’ has shown that how, even when adhering to the nutritional guidelines laid down by the government, schools can still prepare and then sell low cost and low grade food to students every day in the maintained sector.

Steve Quinn is the MD of the Cucina, the school catering company, has echoed the well known dissatisfaction that Jamie Oliver has with these guidelines, and he has given a graphic demonstration of how it’s possible for school caterers to comply with the current regulations but still get away with serving sub standard food.

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.”

* Cucina Restaurants has been operating since 2005

* A commitment to restaurant standards results in an average three-fold increase in uptake of school meals in new Cucina contracts

* Cucina’s 40 restaurants are overseen by a team of Executive Chefs whose experience includes working in some of the UK’s most highly-regarded Michelin-Star establishments

* Cucina produces many of its own ingredients, including all of its own breads. The company employs a full time gardener and is making steady progress towards becoming its own supplier


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