Inedible fruit and veg used in English Schools
A report has divulged that fruit & vegetables given to children under a government scheme are mainly imported, of low quality and with high levels of pesticide residues.
This is in comparison with supermarket equivalents.
Health campaigners are asking the government to revamp the £40m scheme for school fruit and vegetable, saying it is a waste of money and not actually succeeding in encouraging young people to eat more fresh produce.
The scheme entitles all children aged four to six at state school in England to a free piece of fruit or veg at school every day.
The soil association last week showed the produce to be practically in edible and not containing any nutritional worth.
Statistics show that fewer than one in ten children meet their five-a-day target. More than one-third of vegetables eaten by children are processed, with 17% of the veg in youngster’s diets coming from pizza and baked beans.
Rob Percival of the Soil Association says the scheme is useless, presenting children with fruit/veg with so flavour or texture, so effectively teaching them to dislike the product immediately.
“This government scheme is having an entirely counter-productive effect. This is a missed opportunity and a waste of taxpayer’s money.”
Around 2 million children in 18,000 schools in England are part of this scheme which started in 2004.
The government admitted that only 13% of apples were sourced from the UK, even when in season. Less than a third of the produce came from the UK. The produce contained more pesticide than supermarket matching times.
One teacher described the pears as under-ripe and hard and sweaty carrots, stored in bags for days. The teacher understood why the children didn’t want to eat it.
The Soil Association is urging the government to include more British local produce which would arrive fresher and tastier and more attractive to the children.
A free piece of Fruit or Veg a day, should be an edible piece.