Why Offgrub is off menu

5th November 2004 at 00:00
The gruel was unsatisfactory, containing too few calories and insufficient fibre for key stage 2 children. Portions were inadequate but pupils seemed reluctant to complain, and were seen egging on a younger child to ask for a second helping. We are therefore putting this school canteen into special measures."

It's about time school meals were made healthier, but getting Ofsted - Offgrub? - to police it is a cop-out.

In a two-day inspection the HMI could sample the shaped chicken pieces and read the food policy, but this is using a nutcracker to hammer a sledge.

What kids eat is determined further up the food chain. Local authorities and their caterers would be better targets.

Ministers' faith in Ofsted's power to terrify is touching, but misplaced, against the giants of the food industry. A government which was serious about improving children's diets would order higher nutritional standards for school meals - just for starters.

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