Standards for School Meals

Bulgaria: Ordinance for healthy nutrition in schools (2009), kindergartens (2011), crèches (2013) and Recipe Book with specific guidelines for each legislative document were developed by the Ministry of Health. Ministry of Health with 28 Regional Health Inspectorates (RHI) is responsible for the control of national legislation. National Center of Public Health and Analyses provide methodological guidelines and materials for RHI and training courses for the staff of RHI. 28 Regional Health Inspectorates ensure training of employees (headmasters, medical staff, kitchen staff, etc.) from kindergartens and schools and promote healthy nutrition trough different educational companies and interventions for children.

Estonia: School Food policy is regulated by the regulation “Tervisekaitsenõuded toitlustamisele koolieelses lasteasutuses ja koolis (2008)” – developed by the Ministry of Education. It also sets up requirements for the dining rooms. This will be updated in accordance with nutrition regulation by 2018 the earliest.

France: Food standards for institutional catering are defined by: Article D. 230-25 du code rural et de la pêche maribme (primary   and secondary school), Article D.230-28 du code rural et de la pêche maribme (kindergarten). Order of 30 September 2011 on the nutritional quality of meals served in   the framework of school catering.

Germany: There are no mandatory food standards in place on national level yet. However, in two Federal States the Quality Standard for mass catering in school canteens (developed by the German Nutrition Society) is mandatory and in one other state the Quality Standard for mass catering in kindergartens is mandatory. However, all states are advised to make these Quality Standards mandatory.

Greece: School lunches are offered only in some specific private schools. For these schools, the Mediterranean diet pyramid based on dietary guidelines for Greece (Ministry of Health, 1999) is in place and applies.

Hungary: The Public Catering Act (EMMI Decree 37/2014. (IV.30)) was launched in 2014 and came into force in September 2015. It includes mandatory, mainly food-based standards for caterers. The decree also regulates the number of meals provided, the age-appropriate portion sizes, the frequency of certain food groups over a 10-day catering period, energy requirements per age, and the variety of meals. Contains regulations, limitations and prohibitions of using certain foods and products. Obligation to cater for special diets, and to provide information (displaying of the menu, labelling rules). Information campaigns for teachers, parents and students accompanied the introduction together with mandatory education for caterers.

Ireland: Only for pre-schools. The Child Care Act 1991 (Early Years Services) Regulations 2016 says that “A registered provider shall ensure that adequate and suitable, nutritious and varied food and drink is available for each pre-school child attending the pre-school service.” A non-binding food and nutrition guideline for primary schools was launched in 2003.

Italy: The Ministry of Health launched separate policies for pre-schools (2010) and for schools (2010).

Latvia: The Cabinet Regulation No. 172 Regarding Nutrition Norms for Educates of Educational Institutions, Clients of Social Care and Social Rehabilitation Institutions and Patients of Medical Treatment Institutions was launched in 2012

Luxembourg: Meals are offered by out of school care facilities to which all children have access. There are national efforts to improve the quality of meals in all the canteens, the knowledge related to healthy nutrition of cooks, educators and teachers. The Action Plan for the Promotion of Healthy Eating and Physical Activity was launched in 2006 as a joint effort of Ministry of National Education and Vocational Training, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Family and Integration and Ministry of Sports.

Malta: The ‘Healthy Eating Lifestyle Plan’ (voluntary) - came into force in September 2007 and was revised in 2014 – lists permitted and prohibited foods and beverages for lunch. It also provides recipes to support the implementation.

Poland: The Ordinance of the Minister of Health of 26 August 2015 set up requirements to be met by the foods used in the context of public nutrition of children and young people in education premises. However, only 60% of primary schools and one third of junior high schools have canteens providing lunch.

Romania: The Ministry of Health Order 1563/2008, in the annexes 3, 4 and 5 present the caloric needs, the food pyramid and types of foods that are recommended for different age groups.

Slovakia: The Declaration of the Ministry of Education of the Slovak Republic of 14 August 2009 establishes requirements on meals provided in school canteens.

Slovenia: The Slovenian School Meals Act of 2010, amended in 2013, and the National Dietary Guidelines for Healthy Nutrition in Kindergartens, defined in the Act, set the standards for the National School Meals Program (NSMP) through which schools must provide at least one nutritionally balanced meal a day for all pupils. The meal, typically consisting of a mid-morning snack or lunch, must comply with requirements for energy and nutrient content, as well as a specific list of recommended and non-recommended food groups. The national guidelines also provide a list of foods that are not recommended for school meals and which can only be included in school meals at low frequency and in low amounts. School kitchens are provided with a list of alternative healthier food options. The Act requires schools to determine the content, amount, education, and training activities related to meals and encourage a healthy food culture in their annual operational plan. To ensure nutritionally balanced meals, the NSMP is also linked to complementary initiatives, such as a weekly fruit and vegetable scheme, which currently covers 90.5% of students in basic education. The scheme largely offers fresh fruits and vegetables; dried or canned products are only included occasionally (<10%). Other complementary activities include nutritional education, cooking-skills classes, tasting sessions, school gardening, visits to farms, and the promotion of local food procurement.

Spain: There are voluntary food standards: CONSENSUS DOCUMENT ON FOOD IN EDUCATIONAL CENTRES. This consensus document aims to develop these proposals by incorporating nutritional recommendations for school meals that include recommended nutritional daily intake values, by providing information for families, tending to special requirements and by developing criteria for offering healthy options in vending machines, canteens and kiosks in educational facilities. However, as Autonomous Communities are responsible for applying these criteria, there are someone that have developed mandatory, for example Murcia.