Britain plans to ban junk-food sales in schools

The government announced plans Wednesday to ban school cafeterias from serving cheap hamburgers and hot dogs, and to outlaw vending machines selling soft drinks, chocolate and potato chips to pupils.

Education Secretary Ruth Kelly told the annual conference of the governing Labour Party that "the scandal of junk food served every day in school canteens must end." She said the ban on junk-food vending machines and "cheap processed bangers and burgers" would come into effect next September.

The poor quality of much school food made headlines in Britain earlier this year thanks to "Jamie's School Dinners," a series featuring "Naked Chef" Jamie Oliver. Oliver visited school kitchens and found they were dishing out cheap processed meat, usually with piles of fatty french fried potatoes at a cost of 37 pence (65 U.S. cents, 54 euro cents) per child per meal.

Oliver launched a campaign backed by a 270,000-signature petition for school meals cooked with fresh, ingredients.

After the series was broadcast, Kelly promised to spend 280 million pounds (US$500 million, Ђ410 million) improving the quality of school food, the AP reports. АМ

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