Fresh fruit and veg for growing kids
Thursday 17th January 2019
A new report from the Soil Association claims the government is spending £40 million a year teaching children to dislike fruit and vegetables thanks to the poor quality of the produce provided through the School Fruit and Veg Scheme for 4–6-year-olds.
The State of the Nation report into children's food in England, which provides an overview of how children have eaten in 2018, considering the political, environmental and social forces shaping their diets, reveals children are given produce so lacking in flavour and texture that it encourages them to actively dislike (or at least distrust) fruit and veg. In addition, the report reveals that a low proportion of the produce supplied to schools is British, with only 13 per cent of apples and 5 per cent of pears sourced from this country, leading to long supply chains, lack of freshness and high levels of waste. Rob Percival, Soil Association head of food policy, says: 'The School Fruit and Veg Scheme is broken. Not only is the produce often lacking in freshness and of low quality, but data shows it contains higher pesticide residues than equivalent produce found on supermarket shelves, including pesticides associated with a negative effect upon children's cognitive development. The government must re-specify the scheme so that a higher proportion of the produce is British, local and organic, and is therefore fresher, of known provenance, containing lower pesticide residues, and is more enjoyable for children.' Read the full report, plus the Soil Association's five recommendations for improving children's food in 2019, at soilassociation.org/policy/stateofnation18