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Nutritional standards for School Lunches

The Government has announced new standards for school food.  These are in three parts, to be phased in by September 2009.  Together they cover all food sold or served in schools: breakfast, lunch and after-school meals; and tuck, vending, mid-morning break and after-school clubs.

The first of the new standards are the interim food-based standards for school lunches, which came into force from September 2006 and apply to all maintained primary, secondary and special schools in England and academies.  These standards mesh the new food-based standards with the standards in the Education (Nutritional Standards for School Lunches) (England) Regulations 2000.  Guidance to help implement the new standards can be viewed at:

Regulations setting out the food-based standards for other school food e.g. vending, breakfast clubs and tuck shops will come into force in September 2007.

A subsequent set of regulations will set out the final food and nutrient-based standards which will apply to food served at all times of the day.

The timetable for implementation is as follows:

  • September 2006 – Introduction of new ‘interim’ food based standard for school lunches and expectation that schools will begin to move towards standards for food provided at other times;
  • September 2007 – Introduction of food based standards for all other school food and drink;
  • September 2008 – Date by which all primary schools must comply with ‘final’ food based and nutrient-based standards for lunch;
  • September 2009 – Date by which all secondary schools must comply with ‘final’ food based and nutrient-based standards for lunch.



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