Hull MP backs tough action on healthy school food

Hull North MP Diana Johnson met award-winning food writer Sophie Grigson in the House of Commons yesterday to support the Parliamentary launch of the Children's Food Bill.

The Private Members' Bill, sponsored by Wakefield Labour MP Mary Creagh, was launched during National School Meals Week and calls on the Government to ban the advertising of junk food to children and improve food education.

Diana Johnson MP said: "I am pleased to support the Children's Food Bill in its aim of stopping the marketing of fatty, sugary and salty foods to children, and to equip all schoolchildren with cooking skills.

"This will build upon the Government's recent proposals to improve school food, remove unhealthy foods from school vending machines and the work that we have been doing in Hull to promote healthy eating in schools. More needs to be done to address the increasing rates of childhood obesity and we know that poor diet leads to underperformance in the classroom".

Diana Johnson is one of more than 200 MPs who have signed a House of Commons Early Day Motion (EDM) in support of the Children's Food Bill, which has its second reading on 28th October 2005. The Bill is also supported by 150 national organisations and thousands of concerned parents.

Sophie Grigson joined more than twenty other top chefs and food writers this week, including Gary Rhodes, Nigel Slater, Raymond Blanc and Antony Worrall Thompson, to write an open letter to the Prime Minister calling on him to support the Bill and protect children from junk food marketing.

Sophie Grigson said: "To change children's attitudes to food, we need to improve their food environments both in and out of school. As well as presenting good appetising food on their plates, we must protect children from advertisements that promote unhealthy food and drinks, and make sure they learn the skills that enable them to prepare delicious healthy food from fresh ingredients".