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Chips stay on the canteen menu

Nutritionists say standards on what can be served in school canteens need to be tightened up - but chips can stay on the menu.

The school meals review panel, set up by the Government after Jamie Oliver, the celebrity chef, highlighted problems with lunches, is drawing up guidelines.

Dr Helen Crawley, a nutritionist on the panel, said the guidelines would be stricter than the statutory nutritional standards brought out in April 2001. She said the aim would be to limit rather than ban certain foods. Dr Crawley, who works for the Caroline Walker Trust charity, said: "We do not restrict food but say it does not make sense to have fried potatoes on the menu every day."

The Government has pledged to give pound;235m to transform school meals over the next three years.

Ruth Kelly, the Education Secretary, is expected to announce the new standards at the Labour party conference later this month.

* Schools that improve meals can win kitchenware worth pound;2,500 in the Soil Association Food Awards, supported by The Times health supplement Body and Soul.

Jamie Oliver will present the awards at the BBC Good Food Show in November.

To enter, visit www.soilassociation.org or call 0117 314 5000 beforeSeptember 23.

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