Nursery leaders call on Government to make food standards stricter within the EYFS

Katy Morton
Wednesday, May 1, 2024

The sector is calling on the Government to deliver stricter, clearer and more specific food standards for early years settings.

Nursery leaders are calling on politicians to revise the EYFS to make food standards clearer and stricter for settings, PHOTO: Adobe Stock
Nursery leaders are calling on politicians to revise the EYFS to make food standards clearer and stricter for settings, PHOTO: Adobe Stock

Over 10 nursery leaders, representing more than 150 early years settings across the UK including LEYF, Storal, Old Station Nursery and Kinderzimmer, have submitted a joint letter to the Government highlighting their campaign, which calls for action to ‘turn the tide on nationwide childhood health and obesity issues’.

The letter, which has been sent to 19 Government representatives, calls for a revision to the EYFS to expand the food section, providing clear standards for ‘nutritious’ meals.

It also suggests the Eat Better, Start Better programme be reviewed to encourage settings to invest in and see high-quality, healthy food as a priority, and that Labour give specific attention nurseries, pre-schools and childminders within their Child Health Action Plan.

The letter highlights how increasing access to ‘free’ childcare means more and more parents of children under the age of five will become reliant on early years settings to provide nutritious meals.

According to findings from a OnePoll survey, commissioned by Nursery Kitchen, which is leading the campaign, nearly 70 per cent of parents are unaware that there are no Government-backed regulations on what nutritious food should concise of in early years settings. A total of 500 parents took part.

'Our children deserve to have the very best start in life and that must begin with good nutrition'.

Jonny Player, managing director of Nursery Kitchen, said, ‘The health of our children must become an important discussion in Parliament. Early years settings are becoming increasingly responsible for feeding young children and ensuring Britain’s next generation lead healthy and happy lives.

‘As industry leaders, we are in agreement that our organisations, large and small, must have strong policies in place that recognise the importance of proper nutrition in early years settings, but we need political leadership to act on the state of the nation’s health now, and instruct lasting change.’

Sarah Steel, chair of the Old Station Nursery, added, ‘We are proud to get behind this campaign which we know will only improve our children’s long-term health, providing we all work together to face these challenges head on.

'Our children deserve to have the very best start in life and that must begin with good nutrition – a basic but fundamental part of early development. We are coming together as an industry with a view that we can achieve real change for the better.’

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