School meals to be ‘flexible’ in event of Brexit food shortages

01/02/2019 - 09:36
Schools will be able to be “flexible” in what dinners they serve children in England if there are food shortages because of Brexit, the government has said.

A no-deal technical notice issued by the Department for Education (DFE) explained that the government would not be able to guarantee the supply chain of any food that comes in from the continent because of the prospect of checks in places such as Calais and Dunkirk.

However, it added: “Schools have significant flexibilities within the school food standards.”

The current guidelines say schools must provide ‘high-quality meat, poultry or oily fish, fruit and vegetables as well as bread, other cereals and potatoes’.

They cannot provide sugary drinks, crisps or ‘more than two portions of deep-fried, battered or breaded food a week’.

However, with widespread industry warnings of risks in the supply of fresh meat and vegetables from the continent and Ireland, it may mean that schools are at risk of being unable to meet the DFE’s guidelines.

In the no-deal notice, the government said it has been ‘working to plan arrangements that ensure goods can continue to flow into the UK without significant delays from additional controls and checks’.

However, it warned that it ‘does not have control over the checks imposed by EU members states at the EU side of the border’.

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