School lunches getting more expensive


Japanese schools have a lunch system where parents are supposed to pay (although not everyone does) for the kids' meals. Now, after the gyoza scandal, many education boards are trying to replace cheaper, Chinese-made foods. Asahi notes that this means higher costs. For example, in Fuji, the daily fee is 243 yen per meal at elementary schools and 288 yen for junior high schools.

Is that all? What do you think, is that reasonable? Or is it already too high?

Asahi: School lunches safer but at what cost?

I'm reminded of Jamie Oliver who started a massively successful school lunch campaign in the UK, promoting healthier dishes and even organic ingredients. Check his website School Dinners and the official School Food Trust. In the UK, Channel 4 has a website as well, with a lot of advice on improving the quality of your child's school meals, ways to start a campaign for change and some simple ways to improve your child's general diet. Having said that, Japanese kids get better grub than what is generally served in schools in most parts of the world.

Haha, just found this page with photos of Japanese school dinners. Good blogging. And no post about school food would be complete without a reference to Kyuusyoku Toban, the cute restaurant in Akihabara that serves - you guessed it - school food. The Japan Forum has more information about studying in Japan, with lots of photos.

Comments

Pandabonium said…
Recently, the US had the largest recall of beef in history - 143 million pounds (55 million kg). Meat from the plant was used in the Federal School lunch program for school lunches in 36 states.

Always nice to see action being taken to protect kids.
Anonymous said…
There are now calls for change that could finally take the fingers of big business out of our food:

After 143M-pound beef recall, congresswoman proposes stripping USDA of safety oversight:
"A lawmaker has called for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to be stripped of its responsibility for food safety in the wake of the nation's largest-ever meat recall."

http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/02/20/america/NA-GEN-US-Slaughterhouse-Abuse.php

This could be a positive move toward better food for our children and for everyone.
Martin J Frid said…
Very interesting, thanks for the comments. The conditions for cattle at such huge farms are terrible. And as the cows are extremely stressed at slaughter, their meat also contains stress hormones (cortisol) that most likely affect human behavior too, especially if kids eat the stuff. Not a good idea for school lunch program.

Lots of data is available on this topic here:

http://www.grandin.com/meat/meat.html
steveb said…
The food provided by our local hoikuen seems to be generally quite healthy -- no soft drinks or junk food and lots of vegetables and grain (rice).

The school even agreeably complied with our request to not give our child milk, dairy products or meat. We did, however, feel it might be asking too much to ask to exclude fish and fish products since they are so prevalent. Although not ideal from our standpoint, we were very glad that the school personnel were so accommodating.
Martin J Frid said…
Wow, that is good to hear. Thanks!

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