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25th Sep 2017

Schools to have funding scrapped unless they improve food standards

Louise Carroll

Schools that serve unhealthy, high calorie foods will no longer receive funding to do so.

Standards developed by the Department of Health, the HSE, the Department of Education, the Department of Social Protection and Safefood have outlined a new standard of food in state-funded, or DEIS schools.

This new standard is set to focus on increasing the amount of vegetables, fruits, water and milk consumed by children in these schools, while encouraging a practical and healthy portion of food each meal.

These updated nutritional requirements will now be part of the State’s School Meal Programme which currently costs around €50 million per year, feeding about 250,000 children nationwide.

The improved standards hope to better the breakfast clubs, after-school clubs and school’s dinner at DEIS schools and Minister for Health Simon Harris has pointed out his hopes that even schools that do not receive extra funding from the State take part and welcome the improved policy.

The policy comes into place after serious concern over child health and obesity in Ireland as well as the incredibly easy access to sweets, soft drinks and poor nutritional standards of foods served.

According to Safefood, one in four children in Ireland are obese.