HC Deb 15 June 1972 vol 838 cc1711-2
15. Mr. Pavitt

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what steps she has taken to deal with the problem of school meals which fall below the standards set by the Department of Health in the 33 schools which provided less than 25 per cent. of the recommended intake of energy and the nine schools providing less than 20 per cent., as shown in the information sent to her by the hon. Member for Willesden, West.

Mrs. Thatcher

The survey carried out a year ago by a team from Queen Elizabeth College, London, was limited to a small number of schools in the area of a single local education authority which has already taken action to put things right where they appear to be wrong.

Mr. Pavitt

Is the right hon. Lady aware that if this happened in just one small area, it may well be happening in other areas? Will she expedite the inquiry and do all she can to ensure that the standards laid down by the Department of Health and Social Security are adhered to, not only in questions of energy but in the balance of the meal? Will she look again at the problems of school milk, which is part of a balanced diet?

Mrs. Thatcher

This survey was carried out at the request of the local education authority in whose area it took place. The local education authority received it and took action where it thought necessary. The survey was not of the food issued, which is what our advice refers to, but of the food consumed by the children, which is a rather different point. It is important that the school meals inquiry should do a thorough job, and I fear that it will take some time before it reports.