Innovate says only 7% of lunch boxes comply with food standards

by Janie Stamford, Thursday 26th January 2012 15:37

Education caterer Innovate Services' recent research into packed lunches found that just 7% complied with the food-based standards for school dinners.

The caterer's Lunch Box Amnesty study group also found that just under a quarter (24%) of lunch boxes analysed achieved the food-based standard of a minimum two portions of fruit and vegetables, while the majority (77%) contained a type of food or drink that was not permitted.

Public health nutritionist Robert Hobson, who carried out the analysis, said that the audit showed that a majority of the lunch boxes failed to meet the food and nutrient-based standard for school lunches, suggesting that lunches offered in the school canteen could instead offer a far healthier alternative.

Professor Lisa Ackerley, chartered environmental health practitioner, said the findings also highlighted a need to look at the microbiological safety of foods.

"From the initial findings it is clear that many lunch boxes are kept for several hours at room temperature, potentially allowing food poisoning bacteria to grow," she explained.

Derick Martin, co-founder and chief executive of Innovate Services, said: "From our sample, it is clear that producing a lunch box that includes the right nutrients, that is not exposed to potentially harmful bacteria and offers variety at an affordable price is a difficult balance to achieve.

"At Innovate, we have launched an onsite packed lunch option, which means students can choose a freshly made, temperature-controlled lunch box for the equivalent price of the school's 'free school meal'."

In total, 120 year 7 and year 8 students from four secondary schools took part in the study, providing a sample of 70 packed lunches to analyse from a nutritional standpoint.

Of these, 49 lunch box samples were subsequently tested from a food safety and hygiene perspective and 80 students also completed written questionnaires.

Innovate Services launches Construction Design and Build division >>

Contract caterers hit back at Oliver over school meals guidelines >>

Innovate signs £15m procurement deal with Pelican >>

By Janie Stamford

E-mail your comments to Janie Stamford here.

TabletalkIf you have something to say on this story or anything else join the debate at Table Talk - Caterer's new networking forum. Go to www.catererandhotelkeeper.com/tabletalk

Catererandhotelkeeper.com jobs

Looking for a new job? Find your next job here with Catererandhotelkeeper.com jobs

Blogs on Catererandhotelkeeper.com

Catch up with more news and gossip on all Caterer's blogs

E-newsletters

For the latest hospitality news, sign up for our E-newsletters

 


Featured video - for more, visit Caterer and Hotelkeeper’s YouTube channel >>

    Caterer and Hotel Keeper Jobs
    Most ReadLatest Articles
    Most ReadMost Viewed Articles
    Related Industry Resources
    Sign up to Caterer and Hotelkeeper
    Mobile Site
    Also on Caterer and HotelKeeper
    Blogs