SCHOOLCHILDREN are the target of a new Europe-wide campaign to promote food safety.
Every British secondary school could receive a teaching pack on food safety and hygiene later this year if a bid for European Union funds is successful.
The bid is being put together by a consortium of government departments and food, consumer and health organisations.
Tenders were invited as part of a European Commission campaign to promote education on food safety. The campaign follows an EC survey on consumer issues last year, which highlighted concern about food safety following health scares over BSE and food poisoning outbreaks.
The campaign aims to focus on secondary pupils. "The multiplying effect of targeting children in schools is valuable," it says. "In particular it would be wise to reach the 12 to 16-year-olds, who start being independent when purchasing some food products," the report states.
The consortium making the bid includes the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, the Department for Education and Employment, the Department of Health, and the Consumers' Association.
The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, which has lobbied for changes in the national curriculum to include food hygiene training, is also backing the bid.
Ann Goodwin, of the CIEH, said: "The bid is proposing to draw together all the material available, and give it to a selection of schools to find out what the teachers choose - videos, games or books. Depending on cost, the aim is to put a pack together that will go to every secondary school in the UK, with ideas on how to incorporate it into different parts of the national curriculum.
"I would like to think that if they win the bid it will be a great resource pack for teachers, which will be very easy to use."
The EC has allocated pound;2.68 million to the food-safety campaign, of which Britain's share is pound;368,500.