Publication - Consultation analysis

Food and drink in schools: consultation analysis report

Published: 13 Jun 2019
Directorate:
Learning Directorate
Part of:
Education
ISBN:
9781787819337

An analysis of responses given on the nutritional requirements for food and drink in schools.

Food and drink in schools: consultation analysis report
Actions

Actions

Following careful consideration of both the recommendations made by the Technical Working group and the responses received in the consultation on proposed amendments to the school food and drink Regulations, Ministers have concluded that the following actions (1 to 35) will be taken forward:

Primary School Food and Drink Provision

Within the primary school setting there are three sets of standards that apply:

  • At the school lunch
  • Out with the school lunch and
  • Across the school day (both at the lunch and out with the lunch)

All food provided as part of the school lunch must be analysed to adhere to the nutrient standards.

We will amend the nutrient standards set out in the school food and drink Regulations which apply to primary school lunches to:

1. Align the values for each nutrient with the Scottish Dietary Goals with the exception of the value for free sugar which will be set at 7.5% of recommended energy requirements for primary school age pupils.

The school lunch nutrient standards are based on scientific evidence and dietary advice about the amount of energy and nutrients needed by school age pupils and have been calculated to ensure they provide 30% of the daily nutrient requirements of primary pupils.

This amendment will ensure that school lunches continue to provide the correct balance of nutrients taking into account up to date dietary advice for all nutrients as set out in the Scottish Dietary Goals with the exception of free sugar.

The Scottish Dietary Goals for free sugar is for average intakes not to exceed 5% of total energy. However, we recognise that this is a substantial change from current standards and would constrain school menus significantly. As such Ministers have concluded that the free sugar standard will be set at 7.5% of the recommended energy requirements for primary school pupils. This will ensure that free sugar provided as part of the school lunch service is significantly reduced but at the same time recognises the severity of moving to a 5% nutrient standard for free sugar.

2. Continue to allow nutrient standards for primary menus to be calculated on a weekly basis to allow flexibility in menu design but to now additionally require energy to be calculated daily and within a 15% tolerance.

This will reduce the variation and extremes in the energy content of school meals meaning that the energy for any given day should be broadly similar to each of the other days in that week instead of having one day where energy content is particularly low or another where it is particularly high as may occur under the current Regulations.

This is in addition to the existing 10% tolerance for weekly energy calculation

3. Require a minimum of two portions of vegetables and a portion of fruit to be offered as part of a primary school lunch.

Currently, the focus on provision of fruit and vegetables in schools is based on ‘types’. This means that a variety of fruit and vegetables are provided during the school day but can be provided in amounts less than a full portion. For primary age pupils, a full portion is 40g or up to 15g for dried fruit. The amended standard will now require full portions to be offered as opposed to smaller quantities. This will support the aim of increasing fruit and vegetable consumption.

4. Permit only the following savoury snacks to be provided:

(a) plain savoury crackers;

(b) plain oatcakes; or

(c) plain breadsticks.

Currently only savoury crackers, oatcakes and breadsticks are permitted to be provided at lunchtime (crisps for example are not permitted at lunchtime). Now only plain versions will be permitted. Specifying ‘plain’ ensures that savoury snacks accompanying lunches will be lower in salt and sugar. Flavoured savoury snacks will no longer be permitted to be provided as part of the primary school lunch service.

5. Ensure no more than 175g of red and red processed meat can be provided over the course of the school week, of which no more than 100g should be red processed meat. All of the 175g amount can be used for unprocessed red meat.

This is a new standard and is based on the Scottish Dietary Goal for red and processed meat which is underpinned by scientific evidence based dietary recommendations to limit intakes of these foods to 70g per day with the purpose of reducing the risk of colorectal cancer associated with consumption in excess of those limits. Dietary advice highlights red meat as a major source of iron and zinc which can contribute to meeting the recommended nutrient intakes for primary school lunches.

Scientific advice is that nitrites remain safe when used in accordance with regulatory limits prescribed in food additives legislation.

Setting a maximum amount for provision of red processed meat in schools will help ensure that pupils levels of exposure to nitrites is reduced compared to current provision permitted by school food legislation.

We acknowledge the wide ranging views shared in the consultation which included ‘no restriction on quantity’ through to a ‘complete ban of all red meat’. We have taken the decision to allow a maximum amount of red and red processed meat to be provided in schools in order to retain choice and at the same time protect the health of our children.

It is important to ensure that if children choose to consume red and red processed meat products, school meal menus play a part in teaching them how to include these products as part of a balanced diet.

The maximum amounts have been based on the fact that primary school pupils will only have access to red and red processed meat at lunchtime and as such have been set to 50% of the recommended maximum daily amount with the remaining 50% being reserved for consumption out with the school day for example during an evening meal.

Scientific evidence in relation to risk is stronger for red processed meat and as such an additional restriction has been placed on provision of these products. This means that while the overall amount is 175g per week, no more than 100g can be red processed meat. This means that if caterers choose to remove red processed meat products altogether they will be free to use the full 175g amount to provide unprocessed red meat products in their menus. However if they provide red processed meat (for example ham sandwiches) in their menus they can do so up to 100g with the remaining 75g being used for unprocessed red meat products (such as steak pie).

Decisions relating to how and when to include these products in school menus will continue to be the responsibility of local authorities which we expect to be taken in consultation with pupils and parents to ensure that menus reflect as wide a range of dietary choices as is appropriate to the schools within each local authority.

When designing menus, local authorities should also take into account their duty to consider guidance issued by Scottish Ministers on the application of the principles of sustainable development when providing food or drink or catering services in school. This includes the use of fresh, local and sustainable produce and is applicable to all food and drink including meat.

6. Permit sweetened and baked products to be served no more than three times per week. When served they should contain no more than 15g of total sugar per portion.

This is a new standard for school lunches and will include items such as muffins, icecream, sponge pudding and biscuits. Alongside the new standard for sweetened and baked products served at other times of the day (no more than 7g of total sugar per portion), this is designed to significantly reduce the amount of sugar that is accessible over the course of the school day.

The level set recognises that while it is preferable for pupils to consume more of their sugar allowance as part of the school lunch than at other times of the school day. Providing these products more frequently may discourage pupils from choosing fruit or lower sugar alternatives with their lunch.

We will amend the School food and drink Regulations which apply to provision of food outwith the primary school lunch service (for example breakfast clubs and tuckshops) to:

7. Require full portions of fruit and/or vegetables to be made available in any place within the primary school where food is provided, for example in a tuck shop.

Currently, the focus on provision of fruit and vegetables in schools is based on ‘types’. This means that a variety of fruit and vegetables are provided during the school day but can be provided in amounts less than a full portion. For primary age pupils a full portion is 40g or up to 15g for dried fruit. The amended standard will now require full portions to be offered as opposed to smaller quantities. This will support the aim of increasing fruit and vegetable consumption.

8. Require sweetened and baked products to contain no more than:

  • 7g of total sugar per portion
  • 13g of fat per portion
  • 4g of saturated fat per portion

This is a new standard for provision of food outwith the school lunch and will include items such as muffins, icecream, sponge pudding and biscuits. Alongside the new standard for sweetened and baked products served at lunchtime (15g of sugar per portion no more than 3 times per week), this is designed to significantly reduce the amount of sugar that is accessible over the course of the school day in comparison to current permitted standards which do not specify criteria or limit these items other than prohibiting the inclusion of confectionery (for example chocolate chips).

Cereal bars will be added to this category, having been removed from the definition of ‘confectionery’, provided they meet the specified criteria. This is in recognition of the range of product innovation for these products meaning there are varieties of this product now on the market which fit within the acceptable limits in relation to sugar, fat and salt. Allowing those varieties which fit the specified criteria will allow additional choice without compromising the focus on a balanced diet.

The current standard prohibiting confectionery at any time of the day in primary schools will continue to apply.

9. Permit plain savoury crackers, plain oatcakes and plain breadsticks to be provided and other pre-packaged savoury snacks to be provided where they meet the following criteria:

  • Pack size of no more than 25g
  • No more than 22g of fat per 100g
  • No more than 2g of saturates per 100g
  • No more than 600mg of sodium per 100g
  • No more than 1.5g of salt per 100g
  • No more than 3g of total sugar per 100g

The wording for this standard will be amended to be consistent with the amended savoury snack standard for lunchtime. Currently savoury snacks (plain or flavoured) are permitted out with the school lunch service provided they meet specified criteria. Plain savoury crackers, plain oatcakes and plain breadsticks will continue to be permitted but without needing to meet a specified criteria and all other savoury snacks will continue to be permitted only where they meet the specified criteria.

10. Exclude red and red processed meat from being served at any other time of the school day (than lunch).

This is a new standard and has been added to provide clarity over provision of red and red processed meats during the primary school day. Provision of red and red processed meat at times other than lunch is currently not common practice in primary school, and we want to ensure this remains the position moving forward.

The new maximum amount set for primary schools is calculated based on provision of these products at lunchtime only.

This is particularly important where breakfast clubs are being run on school premises but not by local authorities and could give rise to differences in provision. By setting this standard, we can help ensure that where a pupil attends a breakfast club run on school premises (by local authority or privately) they will not be able to access red or red processed meat in addition to that offered at lunchtime and therefore remain within the overall recommended maximum amounts.

We will amend the School food and drink Regulations which apply to provision of food across the whole school day (including breakfast, break times, lunchtime and afterschool) to:

(If providing any of the following as part of the lunch service it must be included in the nutrient analysis.)

11. Permit only breakfast cereals meeting the following criteria to be provided:

  • No more than 15g of total sugar per 100g.
  • No more than 440mg of sodium per 100g.
  • No more than 1.1g of salt per 100g.
  • At least 3g of fibre per 100g.

While breakfast cereals are currently permitted, this new standard sets out criteria which must now be met when providing these products. The new sugar, salt and fibre criteria will contribute to a reduction in access to sugar and salt across the school day but continue to allow pupils to benefit from the fibre that breakfast cereals can contribute.

12. Require all bread and bread rolls served across the school day to contain a minimum of 3g of AOAC fibre per 100g.

AOAC is the standard methodology used in product analysis and food labelling for calculating fibre. Currently, a fibre content is not specified where bread is provided in schools. This change will help ensure that bread served across the school day will have a minimum fibre content requirement and contribute towards meeting the nutrient standard for fibre which has been brought into line with the recommendations set out in the Scottish Dietary Goals.

13. Ensure pastry and pastry products are provided no more than twice a week across the school day.

This new standard includes savoury and sweet items such as pies, croissants and Danish pastries. These products are currently permitted to be provided every day. Placing a restriction on frequency will prevent a product in this category being provided every day or regularly across the week. This will help ensure that access to sugar is reduced and pupils are given the opportunity to see these products as occasional items to be included as part of a balanced diet rather than a product which should form part of our day to day intake.

This standard applies across the school day combined, meaning if products from this category are provided at morning break twice during the week, they cannot be provided at any other time of the day during that same week (for example lunchtime).

14. Permit only sweetened yoghurt, fromage frais or other milk based desserts meeting the following criteria to be provided:

  • Maximum portion size of 125g.
  • No more than 10g of total sugar per 100g.
  • No more than 3g of fat per 100g.

Yoghurts, fromage frais and other milk based products are currently permitted and are recognised as a good source of calcium, however they can contain high levels of sugar. In order to retain the benefits of these milk based products but support a reduction in access to sugar and excess fat across the school day, only products meeting the criteria in this new standard will now be permitted.

We will amend the definitions in the school food and drink Regulations to:

15. Remove cereal bars from the confectionery category and sugared and yoghurt coated products to be added.

Confectionery is currently not allowed to be provided in schools at any time of the day either as a standalone item (for example chocolate bars) or as an element of any other item provided in schools (for example in breakfast cereal or cupcake toppings). This will continue to be the position in schools but the definition will change.

Sugared and yoghurt coated products have been added to the definition of confectionery to reflect the wider range of products now on the market which would not have been covered by the previous wording.

Cereal bars will be removed from this category and will instead be permitted under the sweetened and baked products category for across the school day provided they meet the specified criteria. This is in recognition of the range of product innovation for these products meaning there are varieties of this product now on the market which fit within the acceptable limits in relation to sugar, fat and salt. Allowing those varieties which fit the specified criteria will allow additional choice without compromising the focus on a balanced diet.

Remaining standards applicable to primary school food provision.

The remaining standards in the current Regulations applicable to food and drink provision in primary school will not be amended, namely, oil and spreads, table salt and other condiments, confectionery (although the definition has changed) and fried foods.

Changes to scientific advice or dietary recommendations did not give rise to amendments being proposed to the current standards for these items. In addition, no other justification for amending them was identified when they were reviewed.

We will amend the School food and drink Regulations which apply to provision of drinks across the primary school day (for example breakfast clubs, lunch service and tuckshops) to:

16. Permit only the following drinks to be provided at any time during the primary school day:

  • Water (still or sparkling)
  • Plain lower fat milk and calcium enriched milk alternatives
  • No added sugar, lower fat milk drinks (eg flavoured milk and hot chocolate) and no added sugar, lower fat drinking yoghurts

All education authorities are under a duty to provide children and young people with access to free drinking water across the school day. Education authority caterers can provide additional water by other means if they choose.

Water and plain lower fat milk should continue to be the main focus of provision.

Lower fat milk drinks (including flavoured milk, hot chocolate and drinking yoghurts) will continue to be on the permitted drinks list but will no longer be permitted to contain any added sugar. Instead no added sugar varieties will be permitted where caterers feel this is appropriate to encourage pupils to consume more milk as part of a transition towards plain milk or to teach pupils how to incorporate occasional items as part of a balanced diet. Permitting, not requiring, these drinks will mean that caterers can choose the occasions on which to offer them. They can also choose not to offer them at all.

Juice (including fruit juice, vegetable juice, smoothies and fruit juice combination drinks) will be removed from the permitted drinks list for primary schools.

We recognise that juices can contribute towards achieving our 5 a day recommendation and we have carefully considered the comments that we received in the consultation. One small carton of fruit juice contains more sugar than the entire recommended sugar intake for a primary school pupils lunch. While we believe juices can contribute to a balanced diet, we do not feel it can be justified in a school setting where we are trying to maximise the use of the recommended maximum sugar intake to ensure children are offered a wide range of food and drink which will contribute to habit formation and nutrient intake.

Secondary School Food And Drink Provision

We will amend the nutrient standards set out in the school food and drink Regulations which apply to secondary school analysed lunches to:

17. Align the values for each nutrient with the Scottish Dietary Goals with the exception of the value for free sugar which will be set at 7.5% of recommended energy requirements for secondary school age pupils.

The school lunch nutrient standards are based on scientific knowledge and dietary advice about the amount of energy and nutrients needed by school age pupils and have been calculated to ensure they provide 30% of the daily nutrient requirements of secondary pupils.

This amendment will ensure that school lunches continue to provide the correct balance of nutrients taking into account up to date dietary advice for all nutrients as set out in the Scottish Dietary Goals with the exception of free sugar.

The Scottish Dietary Goal for free sugar is for average intakes not to exceed 5% of total energy. However, we recognise that this is a substantial change from current standards and would constrain school menus significantly. As such Ministers have concluded that the free sugar standard will be set at 7.5% of the recommended energy requirements for secondary school pupils. This will ensure that free sugar provided as part of the school lunch service is significantly reduced but at the same time recognises the severity of moving to a 5% nutrient standard for free sugar.

18. Require the energy from a minimum of a two choice two course analysed lunch to be calculated daily and within a 15% tolerance.

This will reduce the variation and extremes in the energy content of school meals meaning that the menu for any given day should be broadly similar to each of the other days in that week instead of having one day where energy content is particularly low or another where it is particularly high as may occur under the current Regulations.

This is in addition to the existing 10% tolerance for weekly energy calculation.

19. Require a minimum of a two choice, two course analysed lunch each day which meet the weekly nutrients standards and is clearly marketed as doing so.

The current Regulations for secondary school provision are set out in the same way as for primary school provision where lunchtime provision is based on the assumption that all pupils will take a two course set meal. However, we recognise that in reality, young people in secondary school use the school catering service in a different way to primary school children. Some young people will choose to purchase what they are eating for lunch during morning break (for example, if attending a lunch time club). Items are most often priced individually so young people can pick and choose what they have, meaning that they might only choose a sandwich or a drink which falls short of their greater energy requirement. For this reason we will require a minimum of two choice, two course lunch to be offered each day which will also ensure that young people, including those entitled to a free school lunch, could be assured of being able to select a minimum of a two course lunch that meets the nutrient standards. These lunches must be clearly identified.

This will be in addition to the changes made to provision of other food and drink across the school day, for example sugar content, which will also apply to the school lunch service.

20. Require not less than two portions of vegetables and not less than a portion of fruit to be offered as part of an analysed secondary school lunch

Currently, the focus on provision of fruit and vegetables in schools is based on ‘types’. This means that a variety of fruit and vegetables are provided during the school day but can be provided in amounts less than a full portion. A full portion is 80g for secondary age pupils or up to 30g of dried fruit. The amended standard will now require full portions to be offered as opposed to smaller quantities. This will support the aim of increasing fruit and vegetable consumption.

We will amend the nutrient standards set out in the school food and drink Regulations which apply to secondary school lunches (not including the 2 course analysed lunch) to:

21. Require a secondary school main meal to include salad or vegetables as part of the price (or as part of a free school meal entitlement) where pupils are choosing to take a main meal rather than a full lunch.

This new requirement will ensure that pupils who choose not to take a 2 course lunch will be provided with salad or vegetables as part of the meal they choose without relying on a pupil choosing to pay (or use their free school meal entitlement) for them in addition to that meal. For example, currently pupils can choose to purchase single items such as a pasta dish and may have the option to purchase a side salad or vegetable side dish separately. This new standard will ensure that pupils who purchase a pasta dish will receive that side salad or vegetable side dish as part of the price (or part of a free school meal entitlement). This will support the aim of increasing vegetable consumption.

A main meal would include, for example, lasagne, a panini or a baked potato.

We will amend the School food and drink Regulations which apply to provision of all food across the secondary school day (for example breakfast clubs, lunch service, tuckshops and vending machines) to:

22. Require full portions of fruit and/or vegetables to be made available in any place within the secondary school where food is provided, for example in a tuck shop.

Currently, the focus on provision of fruit and vegetables in schools is based on ‘types’. This means that a variety of fruit and vegetables are provided during the school day but can be provided in amounts less than a full portion. For secondary age pupils, a full portion is 80g or up to 30g for dried fruit. The amended standard will now require full portions to be offered as opposed to smaller quantities. This will support the aim of increasing fruit and vegetable consumption.

23. Require all bread and bread rolls served across the school day to contain a minimum of 3g of AOAC fibre per 100g.

AOAC is the standard methodology used in product analysis and food labelling for calculating fibre. Currently, a fibre content is not specified where bread is provided in schools. This change will help ensure that bread served across the school day will have a minimum fibre content requirement and contribute towards meeting the nutrient standard for fibre which has been brought into line with the recommendations set out in the Scottish Dietary Goals.

24. Permit plain savoury crackers, plain oatcakes and plain breadsticks to be provided and other pre-packaged savoury snacks to be provided where they meet the following criteria:

  • Pack size of no more than 25g
  • No more than 22g of fat per 100g
  • No more than 2g of saturates per 100g
  • No more than 600mg of sodium per 100g
  • No more than 1.5g of salt per 100g
  • No more than 3g of total sugar per 100g

Currently the only savoury snacks permitted at lunchtime in secondary schools are savoury crackers, oatcakes or breadsticks (plain or flavoured). Crisps, for example, are not currently permitted at lunchtime but are permitted at other times of the day provided they meet specified criteria. To reflect the new model of provision in secondary schools, the savoury snack criteria will now apply across the secondary school day and will permit plain savoury crackers, plain oatcakes and plain breadsticks to be provided in addition to other savoury snacks where they meet the specified criteria. This will help ensure that fat, salt and sugar levels will continue to be restricted but choice will continue to be supported.

25. Ensure no more than 230g of red and red processed meat can be provided over the course of the school week, of which no more than 130g should be red processed meat. All of the 230g amount can be used for unprocessed red meat.

This is a new standard and is based on the Scottish Dietary Goal for red and processed meat which is underpinned by scientific evidence based dietary recommendations to limit intakes of these foods to 70g per day with the purpose of reducing the risk of colorectal cancer associated with consumption in excess of those limits.

Scientific advice is that nitrites remain safe when used in accordance with regulatory limits prescribed in food additives legislation.

Setting a maximum amount for provision of red processed meat in schools will help ensure that pupils levels of exposure to nitrites is reduced compared to current provision permitted by school food legislation.

This standard applies to school lunches and other times of the day combined meaning that the amounts set out will apply as a total to all meal occasions throughout the school day (for example breakfast, morning break, lunch and after school clubs). This means if dishes containing red and red processed meat products totalling the maximum amounts are offered as part of the breakfast provision during the week, no dishes containing red or red processed meat could be offered at other times of the day for that same week (for example morning break or lunchtime).

We acknowledge the wide ranging views shared in the consultation which included ‘no restriction on quantity’ through to a ‘complete ban of all red meat’. We have taken the decision to allow a maximum amount of red and red processed meat to be provided in schools in order to retain choice and at the same time protect the health of our young people.

It is important to ensure that if young people chose to consume red and red processed meat products, school meal menus play a part in teaching them how to include these products as part of a balanced diet.

The maximum amounts have been based on the assumption that secondary school age pupils will have access to red and red processed meat across the school day for example choosing to consume these products at morning break and again at lunchtime. For this reason the maximum level has been set at 2 thirds of the recommended maximum daily amounts for these products with the other third being reserved for consumption out with the school day, for example, during an evening meal.

Scientific evidence in relation to risk is stronger for red processed meat and as such an additional restriction has been placed on provision of these products. This means that while the overall maximum amount is 230g per week, no more than 130g can be red processed meat. This means that if caterers choose to remove red processed meat products altogether they will be free to use the full 230g to provide unprocessed red meat products in their menus. However if they provide red processed meat (for example ham sandwiches) in their menus they can do so up to a maximum of 130g with the remaining 100g being unprocessed red meat products (such as steak pie).

Decisions relating to how and when to include these products in school menus will continue to be the responsibility of local authorities which we expect to be taken in consultation with pupils and parents to ensure that menus reflect as wide a range of dietary choices as is appropriate to the schools within each local authority.

When designing menus, education authorities should also take into account their duty to consider guidance issued by Scottish Ministers on the application of the principles of sustainable development when providing food or drink or catering services in school. This includes the use of fresh, local and sustainable produce and is applicable to all food and drink including meat.

26. Permit sweetened and baked products to be served only when they meet the following criteria:

  • No more than 10g of total sugar per portion.
  • No more than 19g of fat per portion
  • No more than 6g saturated fat per portion

This is a new standard and will include items such as muffins, icecream, sponge pudding and biscuits. This is designed to significantly reduce the amount of sugar that is accessible over the course of the secondary school day. It will also help ensure that pupils are given the opportunity to see these products as occasional items to be included as part of a balanced diet rather than a product which should form part of our day to day intake.

Cereal bars will be added to this category, having been removed from the definition of ‘confectionery’, provided they meet the specified criteria. This is in recognition of the range of product innovation for these products meaning there are varieties of this product now on the market which fit within the acceptable limits in relation to sugar, fat and salt. Allowing those varieties which fit the specified criteria will allow additional choice without compromising the focus on a balanced diet.

27. Permit only breakfast cereals meeting the following criteria to be provided:

  • No more than 15g of total sugar per 100g.
  • No more than 440mg of sodium per 100g.
  • No more than 1.1g of salt per 100g.
  • At least 3g of fibre per 100g.

While breakfast cereals are currently permitted, this new standard sets out criteria which must now be met when providing these products. The new sugar, salt and fibre criteria will contribute to a reduction in access to sugar and salt across the school day but continue to allow pupils to benefit from the fibre that breakfast cereals can contribute.

28. Permit only sweetened yoghurt, fromage frais or other milk based desserts meeting the following criteria to be provided:

  • Maximum portion size of 175g.
  • No more than 10g of total sugar per 100g.
  • No more than 3g of fat per 100g.

Yoghurts, fromage frais and other milk based products are currently permitted and are recognised as a good source of calcium, however they can often contain high levels of sugar. In order to retain the benefits of these milk based products but support a reduction in access to sugar and excess fat across the school day, only products meeting the criteria in this new standard will now be permitted.

29. Restrict pastry and pastry products to be provided no more than twice a week across the school day.

This new standard includes savoury and sweet items such as pies, croissants and Danish pastries. These products are currently permitted to be provided every day. Placing a restriction on frequency will prevent a product in this category being provided every day or regularly across the week. This will help ensure that access to sugar is reduced and pupils are given the opportunity to see these products as occasional items to be included as part of a balanced diet rather than a product which should form part of our day to day intake.

This standard applies across the school day combined, meaning if products from this category are provided at lunchtime twice during the week, they cannot be provided at any other time of the day during that same week (for example morning break).

30. Require the definition of confectionery to be amended to remove cereal bars from this category and include sugared and yoghurt coated products.

Confectionery is currently not allowed to be provided in schools at any time of the day either as a standalone item (for example chocolate bars) or as an element of any other item provided in schools (for example in breakfast cereal or cupcake toppings). This will continue to be the position in schools but the definition will change.

Sugared and yoghurt coated products have been added to the definition of confectionery to reflect the wider range of products now on the market which would not have been covered by the previous wording.

Cereal bars will be removed from this category and will instead be permitted under the sweetened and baked products category provided they meet the specified criteria. This is in recognition of the range of product innovation for these products meaning there are varieties of this product now on the market which fit within the acceptable limits in relation to sugar and fat. Allowing those varieties which fit the specified criteria will allow additional choice without compromising the focus on a balanced diet.

Remaining standards applicable to food across the school day (including breakfast, morning break, lunch service, tuckshops and vending machines)

The remaining standards in the current Regulations applicable across the school day in secondary school will not be amended, namely, oil and spreads, oily fish, table salt and other condiments, confectionery (although the definition has changed) and fried foods.

Changes to scientific advice or dietary recommendations did not give rise to amendments being proposed to the current standards for these items. In addition, no other justification for amending them was identified when they were reviewed.

We will amend the School food and drink Regulations which apply to provision of drinks across the secondary school day (for example breakfast, morning break, lunch service, tuckshops and vending machines) to:

31. Permit only the following drinks to be provided at any time during the secondary school day:

  • Water (still or sparkling)
  • Plain lower fat milk and calcium enriched milk alternatives
  • Tea and Coffee
  • No added sugar, lower fat milk drinks (eg flavoured milk and hot chocolate) and no added sugar, lower fat drinking yoghurts
  • Sugar free drinks (excluding high caffeine – more than 150mg per litre)

All Education authorities are under a duty to provide children and young people with access to free drinking water across the school day. Education authority caterers can provide additional water if they choose.

Water and plain lower fat milk should continue to be the main focus of provision.

Lower fat milk drinks (including flavoured milk, hot chocolate and drinking yoghurts) will continue to be on the permitted drinks list but will no longer be permitted to contain any added sugar. Instead no added sugar varieties will be permitted where caterers feel this is appropriate to encourage pupils to consume milk as part of a transition towards plain milk or to teach pupils how to incorporate occasional items as part of a balanced diet. Permitting, not requiring, these drinks will mean that caterers can choose the occasions on which to offer them. They can also choose not to offer them at all.

Tea and coffee will continue to be permitted as they are under the current Regulations as they provide additional choice for secondary age pupils and the dietary advice for these products has not changed.

Juice (including fruit juice, vegetable juice, smoothies and fruit juice combination drinks) will be removed from the permitted drinks list for secondary schools.

We recognise that juices can contribute towards achieving our 5 a day recommendation and we have carefully considered the comments that we received in the consultation. One small carton of fruit juice typically contributes 100% of the free sugar allowance at the school lunch and would contribute excess sugar consumption throughout the day. While we believe juices can contribute to a balanced diet, we do not feel it can be justified in a school setting where we are trying to maximise the use of the recommended sugar intake to ensure young people are offered a wide range of food and drink which will contribute to habit formation and nutrient intake.

We have listened carefully to the consultation responses on the issue of reintroducing sugar free drinks to the permitted drinks list for secondary schools and we agree that regular consumption of these drinks should continue to be discouraged. However, we recognise that secondary schools can play a key role in shaping the choices young people make not only during the school day but also when they leave school. For this reason we are permitting (not requiring) these drinks to form part of the school menu but on the understanding that caterers use this as an opportunity to educate young people how to include them as occasional items as part of a balanced diet. We have not specified how frequently these products should be provided (where caterers choose to offer them at all) as we believe this decision is best taken at a local level taking account of local circumstances and in consultation with pupils and parents. We will however be providing guidance on how reintroduction of sugar free drinks can be managed practically in order to support caterers and schools.

We will update the ‘Healthy eating in schools – a guide to implementing the nutritional requirements for food and drink in schools (Scotland) Regulations 2008’ document to reflect the changes set out above in order to support caterers and schools with practical implementation of the amended school food and drink Regulations.


Contact

Email: douglas.forrester@gov.scot