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Successor to the menu planning CHOMP and CORA

A new Under 5s menu planning program NMPU5 will be published by Nutmeg in 2006. This will incorporate the standards in the new CWT report. There is a database of over 700 foods and recipes provided with the program. This includes all the recipes on the CD-Rom which comes with the CWT training materials. The program has a much refined search and replace function compared with Chomp and can import and export data e.g. prices and suppliers to and from other systems as well as do complete and detailed costings. The price is £100 per nursery or other establishment.

The Nutmeg team wrote the original Chomp program when the first CWT report on Eating Well for Under Fives was published. They also wrote CORA and have written programs for planning and monitoring School Meals in Scotland and England to assist the introduction of the new quantified nutritional standards.

NMP Gold - a successor to CORA for older people and older people with dementia in care homes will be published in September. This will be substantially different from CORA, having a sophisticated substitute search program and a complete budgeting system.

New menu planning programs will be produced for Looked after Children and Young People and one for Community Meals and Lunch Clubs - all reflecting the CWT Eating Well reports and quantified nutritional standards.

All of the programs will contain substantial help files including the key information about nutrition for the relevant groups. For more information, or to express an interest in obtaining the new programs, call Nutmeg on 020 8323 8001, email or visit

June 2005

National Heart Forum and Caroline Walker Trust Press Release 'Feeding them better' with the appliance of science

The new 'Nutrient-Based Standards for School Food' for England and Wales are being launched on Thursday 23 June 2005. These are very timely in the wake of Jamie Oliver's 'Feed me Better' school food campaign and the Government's commitment of £280 million to urgent improvements.

Paul Lincoln, chief executive of the National Heart Forum, said: "Jamie Oliver's campaign dramatically exposed the woeful inadequacy of current minimum standards for school food in England and Wales and triggered a welcome but long overdue rethink about what we feed children in schools. If we seriously mean to tackle the crisis in children's eating and diet-related ill-health, nutritional standards for school food must be raised to a meaningful benchmark; one which is scientifically based on what we know about the nutritional needs of growing children. To achieve the sort of transformation of the school food service seen in Scotland, these standards must be supported by a range of wider reforms to overhaul catering practices and restrict processed food." He concludes: "Parents, schools, caterers and the government all recognise the problem; we believe these standards provide the proper tools to fix the problem. Anything less will be tinkering."

Where and when: The launch take place 11.45am - 1.00pm on Thursday 23 June 2005, at the Charles Dickens Primary School, London, SEI 1QP. Lunchtime in the school dinning hall.

Members of the Expert Working Party who compiled the report will be available for interview, as will the head teacher, children and dinner ladies on the day. Journalists can have lunch on tables with the School Council (made up of 24 children) to find out what they think of school food.

Contacts: Journalists interested in covering the launch please contact Carol Glover, Communications Manager at the National Heart Forum on 0207 383 7638 if you are interested in attending the event or to contact spokespeople for phone interviews.

Who we are: The National Heart Forum (NHF) is an alliance of 50 national organisations working to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, the UK 's biggest single - yet largely preventable - cause of death and disease.

Our work is very wide ranging from influencing urban design and promoting cycle routes, to producing nutritional guidelines for school meals, to tobacco regulation.

The NHF's chief executive, Paul Lincoln, and our medical and health policy experts, are happy to comment and engage in media work on the following subjects:
  • Nutrition
    Food marketing to children and teenagers
    School meals
    Salt and health

  • Advances in the prevention of chronic disease and the risk factors
    Coronary heart disease
    Raised blood pressure

  • Smoking
    Tobacco regulation
    Smoke-free public places

  • Exercise
    Physical health and the built environment
    Active transport policy - walking and cycling

  • Hot topics in the NHS and Government health promotion policy

  • International and EU public health policy

Joe Harvey, chair of The Caroline Walker Trust said: The challenge to reform the food service in our schools is a formidable one. For far too long we have worked on the objective of seeing how cheaply we could provide food in schools rather than setting the appropriate quality standards, costing them and providing the funding accordingly. These new standards not only update the previous ones but add a strong dimension in terms of accompanying recommendations on policy and infrastructure. Nutritional standards have to apply to the service throughout the day and be consistent with the taught curriculum - they must be applied not just to the midday meal but to breakfast, break time and vending operations. So they must be able to be translated into attractive menus, giving children a practical education in healthy eating which is enjoyable and so replicable in their lives both as children and then when they in turn become parents.

This process will require considerable investment in time, product, equipment, facilities and training, but most of all in a political commitment from government to governors to deliver a food service for children that we can all be proud of.

March 2005

Healthy Food in Schools - Transforming School Meals Caroline Walker Trust Response

The Caroline Walker Trust welcomes today's (30 March 2005) plan announced by the Department for Education and Skills to improve school meals, but continues to stress the need for nutrient-based standards. Joe Harvey, Chair of the Caroline Walker Trust said: "We are very pleased that the government has recognised the need to invest in improving the quality of our school meals and the announcement today is an excellent start. We welcome the proposal for mandatory nutrition standards to be introduced in 2006, but we will continue to argue that they need to be nutrient-based, as recognised by the Secretary of State for Health, John Reid. However we must keep pressure on government to ensure the implementation of the standards is rigorous and universal and we will continue to lobby for the reintroduction of cooking skills into the core curriculum for all secondary school children."

Today the Education Secretary Ruth Kelly announced new minimum nutrition standards to be rolled out to primary and secondary schools from September 2005, and becoming mandatory from September 2006. Whilst the Expert panel set up to develop these standards has been asked to 'strongly consider' the use of nutrient-based standards the introduction of these has not yet become Government policy.

Yesterday in a letter to Ruth Kelly nearly 50 eminent academics and experts urged her to adopt immediately the Caroline Walker Trust's quantified nutritional standards as the basis on which all school meals are prepared. The letter stated that it is the professional view of the signatories that "the Government has a duty to set a nutritional floor on which all the other reforms you are introducing must rest". It goes on to say that "without such a scientifically sound benchmark, we fear your other initiatives will not have the desired population-wide effect".

The CWT will publish revised and updated nutrition guidelines for schools in a new report 'Eating Well at School' in June 2005. This report updates and builds upon the Trust's previous 1992 school meal nutrition guidelines.

February 2005

Raising nutritional standards in schools is 20 years overdue

The National Heart Forum (NHF) and Caroline Walker Trust (CWT) and the Health Education Trust (HET) welcome today's announcement (10 February 2005) by the Department for Education and Skills on raising the nutritional standards of school meals, which is twenty years overdue.

Paul Lincoln, chief executive of the National Heart Forum says: "The NHF and CWT welcome the introduction of interim processed food standards as the current DFES food standards for school meals have been found wanting in the Governments own reviews, so immediate action is needed if the Government is to meet its ambitious health goals for children, such reducing the year-on-year increase in obesity for children under age 11 by 2010 and reaching the health inequalities targets."

The NHF, CWT and HET also welcome the long overdue inclusion of meals in OFSTED inspections of schools, as healthy food is essential for learning and development and this action will raise the priority of school meals on head teachers' and governing body agendas.

We would also like to see 'lunchtime supervisors' trained in a healthy eating vocational qualification, in addition to the one suggested for school caterers, as they have a vital frontline role.

The health policy significance of school food is vastly underappreciated. For one third of children the school meal is the only nutritious meal of the day. We are very concerned about the wider policy issues for school food, such as setting minimum standards for how much a healthy school meal should cost. There are enormous cost variations across the country and between schools.

The National Heart Forum is also campaigning for greater encouragement for uptake of free school meals in un-stigmatising ways and support for schools to have the equipment to cook meals on site from fresh ingredients. It is time for this to be reintroduced after the removal of this duty and school meal standards in the 1980 Education Act and the real value of a free school meal has dropped considerably in recent years.

England needs to follow the example of Scotland, which leads the way within the UK with its school food plans.

Joe Harvey, Chair of the Caroline Walker Trust and Director of the Health Education Trust says: "Fundamentally we need to establish a pride in school food that is nutritious, appetising and increase the uptake, especially amongst those who need it most. This will require a substantial increase in investment in the school meals service if the quality is to improve.'

The National Heart Forum and Caroline Walker Trust have established an independent expert group on childhood nutrition to define school food nutrient based standards, building on the ground breaking Caroline Walker School Meal nutritional guidelines first published in 1993. These standards are regarded as the 'gold standard' for schools and should form the basis of the new Government standards.

The Health Education Trust supports this work and is also campaigning vigorously for a revision of the core curriculum in all schools to include food preparation and cooking skills. The NHF, CWT and HET would thus welcome close involvement with the newly announced independent school food trust.

Contacts: For further information or to interview Paul Lincoln, chief executive of the National Heart Forum or Joe Harvey, Chair of the Caroline Walker Trust, please contact Carol Glover, Communications Manager on 0207 383 7638.