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Ketchup Banned From Some School Lunchrooms in Wales

October 14, 2008 08:58 AM
by Lindsey Chapman
In an effort to get kids eating fresher, healthier foods, some schools in Wales have stopped offering ketchup with lunch.

Condiments Are on the Way Out

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Students in Wales have a little less freedom in the lunchroom than they once did. In the interest of healthy eating, some Vale of Glamorgan primary schools have decided to encourage lunchrooms not to serve ketchup on some foods.

It’s a move officials say will help youngsters consume a little less sugar and salt, but some parents have called the idea “a bit daft,” according to the BBC.

One school leader explained, “The policy is not to use mass-produced foods, we produce everything fresh on the premises.” In place of ketchup, some schools are offering a homemade tomato sauce instead.

Elsewhere in Wales, children at the Tonypandy Community College are protesting the fact that they are no longer allowed to have sugar in their tea. “We should have a right to choose what we eat,” 16-year-old Emma-Jayne Morgan said in an article from The Telegraph. “If you were told that at a local cafe you would walk out in disgust.”

“I would rather go down to town to a cafe for lunch than force feed myself something I do not like,” Morgan stated.

Related Topic: England’s childhood obesity plan

A new government initiative in England aims to help parents address childhood obesity problems. As part of a new national measuring program, schools will record each student’s height and weight and send a letter to parents to notify them if their child has a weight problem. The country has changed its previous policy of only sending this type of information to parents if it was requested.

Historical Context: Ketchup as a vegetable

In 1981, health officials in the United States tried to give ketchup a little more credit than schools in Wales. At the time, U.S. schools could receive reimbursements for lunches fed to kids, as long as meals met certain nutritional standards. However, when Congress cut $1 billion in child nutrition funding, the U.S. Department of Agriculture had just 90 days to revise requirements that would allow schools to economize on meals without compromising on nutrition. Officials considered the possibility of counting ketchup and pickle relish as a fruit/vegetable when served on foods.

Critics of the idea “went ballistic,” according to Cecil Adams of The Straight Dope. The plan was scrapped, and schools operated on an “offer vs. serve” plan. To minimize waste, schools were required to offer foods in all food groups to kids, but children had the right to refuse what they didn’t want to eat.

Reference: Cooking healthy; childhood obesity

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