The Government is preparing a decree so that school menus have at least 45% seasonal fruits and vegetables

new step in the crusade of the Ministry of Consumption to improve the nutrition of minors. The department headed by Alberto Garzón has brought to a public hearing this Thursday morning the draft Royal Decree on the conditions that non-university school canteens must meet. The text will promote a quality, healthy and sustainable diet and proposes a minimum of fruit and vegetables on the menus, the availability of food alternatives for certain medical diagnoses and promotion of the Mediterranean diet, among other measures.

School canteen, educate from the roots

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The Royal Decree project develops articles 40 and 41 of Law 17/2011, of July 5, on food safety and nutrition, for the promotion of healthy and sustainable eating in educational centers. The text tries to unify at the state level a sector that at the moment is governed by regional regulations and that does not tend to set minimum quality standards. That of the Community of Madrid, for example, speaks of a "varied, balanced and adapted to the nutritional needs of each age group" menu, without going into details.

The text that Consumers puts today in a public hearing – whoever wants can submit suggestions for 15 days – is likely to be modified, first after this procedure and then during its passage through Parliament, which must validate it. The forecast of the ministry is that the Royal Decree is approved during the second half of 2023 (it will have to be before the president dissolves the chambers due to the electoral call that falls that fall), so that it would come into force for the 2024 academic year- 2025.

Consumption wants to promote the Mediterranean diet in educational centers, to use fresh and local food and to prioritize healthy culinary techniques, such as baked, steamed or grilled food, as opposed to fried or battered food. Spain has 40% childhood obesity and overweight, data that only grows among adults.

More local food

To do this, it proposes in its regulations that school menus include at least 45% seasonal and proximity fruits and vegetables. Also, to increase, at least up to 5%, organically produced food and give priority to those whose production is respectful of the environment and animal welfare. The text also specifies that extra virgin olive oil should be used for dressings and high oleic olive or sunflower oil for frying and cooking. It is also committed to reducing salt, concentrates, flavor enhancers, sauces and sugar in preparations, in addition to specifying that there should be jugs of tap water on the dining room tables.

This Royal Decree, which arrives after having passed the public information process (previous and similar to this, but based on a much more generic text), has been agreed with the autonomous communities, for which a certain political support is presupposed. .

The regulations represent a further step by the ministry led by Alberto Garzón to promote healthy eating habits. already did regulating advertising aimed at minors of confectionery products, energy drinks or sweets, among others, or encouraging a reduction in the consumption of red meatmeasures in general recommended by entities such as UNICEF or the WHO and applauded by nutritionists. If the processing of this follows the line of the previous initiatives of the leader, there will be noise. Even among those who have among their lines of action exactly the objectives that Garzón wants to achieve.

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