Health managers have defended an e-mail which offered schools advice on the best way to prepare carrots for eating.
Carrots should be washed and cut from the bottom, says the advice
The e-mail - sent to schools in Greater Manchester - said that carrots should be washed, cut from the bottom and then discarded from the top.
It prompted complaints from head teachers that the advice was "bureaucracy gone mad".
But the Health Protection Agency said it was merely responding to requests from schools for help on how to prepare the vegetables.
A spokesman for the regional director of public health in the North West said carrots had been introduced as part of the National Fruit In Schools initiative.
He said: "Carrots come in a raw state and, if you had them at home, some people would wash them, some would peel them, cut the tops off.
"If you've peeled them and you've got them lying around, they're going to go soft and horrible and turn kids off the scheme.
"This is a very important initiative to get children eating fruit and vegetables.
"The National Fruit In Schools scheme is an initiative which has been running for a couple of years now aimed at four to seven year olds."
The e-mail offering culinary advice on carrot preparation was sent to all schools which were part of the scheme, not just those that had requested advice.
But many staff at schools which had not sought advice said the e-mail was patronising.
Graham Brock, headteacher of Springwood Primary School, Stockport, said: "My own view was, when the e-mail came, it was a bit of light relief for us, because we've got plenty of other things to worry about."
Tim Buckley, headteacher of Tithe Barn Primary School, in Heaton Moor, Stockport, told the Daily Mail: "They didn't explain how far up the carrot we were supposed to stop eating, they just told us to start at the bottom.
"It's bureaucracy gone mad."