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By the numbers - School food

A new review of school meals has been announced due to concerns that pupils are still being served unhealthy food.

The government has said that Henry Dimbleby and John Vincent, co-founders of the Leon restaurant chain, will lead the review, but celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, who led a campaign to improve school lunches, has said that it is time for action rather than another report.

New standards for school food were introduced in primaries in September 2008 and secondaries in September 2009, but free schools and academies that have converted since September 2010 are exempt. According to School Food Trust research, catering is now healthier than it was before the standards were introduced. Meals contain more vegetables and salad, and more starchy foods that are not cooked in fat.

Although the proportion of pupils eating school lunches has risen, the take-up is still just 44 per cent in primaries and 38 per cent in secondaries.

Proportion of secondary schools offering these foods at least four days a week*

2004

68% Water

66% Pizza

1% Fruit-based desserts

68% Confectionery

2011

98% Water

50% Pizza

6% Fruit-based desserts

4% Confectionery

Proportion of secondary pupils opting to eat these foods*

2004

43% Chips

5% Confectionery

15% Pasta and rice

2011

7% Chips

[s20]1% Confectionery

27% Pasta and rice

Proportion of Primary pupils opting to eat these foods*

2005

59% Vegetables

16% Fruit

52% Pasta and rice

11% Chocolate and snacks

2009

74% Vegetables

22% Fruit

4% Chocolate and snacks

60% Pasta and rice

*Based on five days of observation carried out on behalf of the School Food Trust.

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