Eating at school, what can parents demand from the school cafeteria?
Although the nutritional profile of school menus has improved a lot in recent years, there are parents who would like a healthier diet for their children. Also, there are more and more children with food intolerances or allergies who can not eat the standard menu or exclude certain foods from their diet for religious, cultural or family reasons. In any of these cases, what rights do parents have and what can they demand from the school?
More and more children are taking their main meal, lunch, at their school. Mainly, because the working hours of the parents are often incompatible with school feeding times. So it is logical that the parents wonder what obligations the school canteen has and what are the rights of the minors regarding their feeding during school hours.
At the same time, today we are more aware that education in healthy habits, including food, not only goes through the family, but also the other agents involved. In this sense, the school cafeteria plays a key role in promoting a healthy and balanced diet. Despite this, some parents fear that they are not devoting enough effort to achieve it.
Likewise, more and more children with intolerances or food allergies must follow a strict regime so as not to put their health at risk and, therefore, they need special attention with regard to food. But can parents be calm in that regard?
Healthy school meals
In a context marked by the growing incidence of childhood obesity, the parents' concern about their children's diet at school seems logical. Still, as a general rule, you can rest easy.
Although there is always room for improvement, the truth is that there has been a significant progress in recent years in the effort of schools to offer menus of higher nutritional quality.
In that sense, we must know that "the Spanish food safety law itself establishes that educational authorities must transmit to students the appropriate knowledge so that they are able to correctly choose the food, as well as the adequate amounts for a healthy diet" , explains Miriam Montero, lawyer of ARAG.
Thus, "the competent authorities must ensure that the meals served in nursery schools and schools are varied, balanced and adapted to the nutritional needs of each age group, which in turn must be supervised by professionals with accredited training. in human nutrition and dietetics, "says the lawyer.
At the same time, the schools must provide the families, tutors or children responsible for the monthly programming of the menus in the clearest and most detailed way possible. In this way, the caregivers will know what the midday menu has been and can offer the children a dinner that is complementary.
Children with food intolerances and allergies, should they eat at school?
Celiacs, lactose intolerant, allergic to nuts, fish, eggs ... What about those children who have some kind of intolerance or food allergy? Can parents be quiet by letting their children eat at school? The certain thing is that, "whenever the facilities and the conditions of organization allow it, the infantile schools and the schools will elaborate special menus adapted to these allergies or intolerances", affirms Montero.
However, it will be necessary that these conditions are diagnosed by specialists and accredited with their corresponding medical certificate, in addition to having to inform the school in writing.
In case the schools do not have the resources to elaborate these alternative menus or the additional cost will be unaffordable, the students should be provided with adequate refrigeration and heating measures for the food they bring from home.
Advice: Miriam Montero, lawyer of ARAG, company of Legal Defense.