Few sealed food packages for English schoolchildren sparks outrage By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Milton Keynes

By William James LONDON (Reuters) – Shared images of the meager food packages that schools provided to children during the COVID-19 shutdown in England sparked a protest on Tuesday and prompted the government to warn private providers to raise your standards. With England on lockdown to try to control an increase in coronavirus cases, the government has asked schools to provide free lunches for eligible children trapped at home. However, the images shared online of some of the food packages were criticized by politicians, celebrities and the public, who questioned whether they contained enough food and nutrition for the number of meals they were supposed to cover. The protest began when a Twitter user posted a package that he said was expected to last 10 days of lunches containing: a loaf of bread, two potatoes, two carrots, three apples, a tomato, some dried pasta, bananas. , cheese, beans and others. small sandwiches. “The photos being shared on social media today are completely unacceptable and do not reflect the high level of free school meals that we hope will be sent to children,” said Minister for Children and Families Vicky Ford. Children are eligible for the program if they are in their first three years of school, approximately between the ages of 4 and 7, or if their parents receive certain state benefits. More than 1.4 million children qualify. Reuters spoke to the Twitter user who posted the original photo. She declined to be identified, but confirmed that the photograph showed everything in the package she had collected from school for a child. “What they’re going to end up with on a typical day is a round of cheese sandwich with a pretty thin slice of cheese and no butter on the bread, that’s going to be pretty hard to eat,” he said. The package was supplied by Chartwells, part of the FTSE-listed PLC Compass Group (LON :). Supply contracts are not negotiated by the central government. The firm said the package in question was only supposed to last five days. He apologized for the amount he offered and said that he would reimburse schools in cases where it had not met his standards. “In our efforts to provide thousands of food packages a week on very short notice, we are very sorry that the quantity has fallen short in this case,” a Chartwells spokeswoman said in an emailed statement. Other users posted images that they said showed similar food packages received from schools, which can come from a variety of vendors. Reuters was unable to verify all the images. “Something’s wrong and we have to fix it, fast!” said Premier League soccer player Marcus Rashford, who led an advertising campaign last year to pressure the government to extend the meal provision to include school holidays, which it then did.

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