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Last Updated: Sunday, 20 March 2005, 12:10 GMT
Blair supports TV chef's campaign
Jamie Oliver
Tony Blair is calling on Jamie Oliver to oversee school meal progress
Tony Blair has pledged to improve school meals for children in response to a plea from TV chef Jamie Oliver.

The prime minister suggested schools could use funding to rebuild and equip schools with facilities for healthy dinners.

Meals will be cooked from scratch and school cooks will be given extra training to help create appetising menus, the Observer reports.

The move follows Oliver's TV campaign to ditch junk food in schools.

Parental anger

Writing in the Observer, the prime minister acknowledged the parental anger expressed over the diets on offer at many schools.

He promised to set up a School Food Trust to build on the work begun by the celebrity chef in his Channel 4 series, Jamie's School Dinners.

Mr Blair said that the new trust will "draw on the remarkable work of Jamie Oliver in schools, of the Soil Association in encouraging the use of organic and local produce in school meals, and on the best advice on nutrition and eliminating processed foods".

It could be one of the biggest food revolutions that England has ever seen
Jamie Oliver

He added: "It may take a little time to change children's tastes, but it will be worth the effort if we can get them enjoying healthy and good quality food at school. We will also ask Ofsted to inspect the quality of school meals."

Oliver is set to hand over a petition signed by more than 100,000 people to the prime minister, calling for low fat, healthy, fresh school food.

Downing Street is expected to offer the celebrity chef an advisory role overseeing progress with school meals.

The proposals will form part of a children's manifesto to be published on Monday outlining the government's approach to parents on issues from diet to paedophiles targeting children through the internet.




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Listen to the plans for school meals



SEE ALSO:
NI school caterers challenge chef
10 Mar 05 |  Northern Ireland
Oliver meals crusade 'needs cash'
22 Feb 05 |  Education
TV chef Oliver returns to school
21 Apr 04 |  Entertainment
Television chefs' dough on rise
17 Jun 04 |  Education


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