Ostrichburgers or lentil bake

29th March 1996 at 00:00
Beef comes off the menu in hundreds more schools as confidence plummets.

While the BSE scare forces school cooks to tell pupils "Sorry, beefburgers are off," children at Avon Valley School are tucking in to an unlikely alternative: ostrich.

Mark Braine, headteacher of the 400-pupil grant-maintained secondary in Rugby, said the giant bird, bought in from a local farm, was placed on the menu for "general health" reasons three weeks before the start of the current mad cow disease crisis.

"Turkey and veggie burgers have become more popular, but there was still a hard core of pupils who we felt ought to be weaned off high-fat, high-cholesterol, beef burgers," he said. Ostrich is leaner and lower in cholesterol than beef, and at 70p per burger, only 10p more per serving. "The flavour is similar to beef and has gone down very well," Mr Braine said.

A beef ban is now in place at the school, but Mr Braine is aware that BSE can occur in ostrich. "We looked into that,but could find no recorded instances in UK-reared ostriches," he said.

Samantha Calvert, campaign officer for the Vegetarian Society, describes Avon Valley's example as "our worst nightmare - children giving up one kind of meat in favour of another".

The society, whose 20,000 members include about 1,000 under-16s, says 11 per cent of UK pupils have now given up red and white meat and fish.

Ms Calvert believes concern over BSE should make more schools aware of "the range of nutritious and inexpensive vegetarian dishes".

The society is about to distribute a 16-page colour booklet for 14 to 16-year-olds, which promotes ingredients such as textured soya protein, lentils and chickpeas, and offers recipes designed to suit teenagers' tastes and pockets.

Ms Calvert urged schools to consider banning foods, which may contain gelatine or animal fats that could come from beef, including yogurt and cakes. She said: "School caterers have to realise that insuring completely against the BSE risk is not just a question of taking beef off the menu."

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now