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Why is healthy eating law still gathering dust on legislation shelves?

May 1, 2012 12:47 PM

Peter Black, Welsh Liberal Democrat Chief Whip and South Wales West Assembly Member has today criticised the Labour Government for shelving legislation that ensures healthy eating is promoted and supported in schools across Wales.

The Healthy Eating in Schools (Wales) Measure, introduced by former Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member, Jenny Randerson, was the first piece of legislation to be given Royal Assent under the National Assembly's new legislative powers in the third Assembly term

The Measure become law on 15th October 2009 and has since been sitting on the government's legislation shelves for the past 30 months.

Peter Black said:

"What's the point of the National Assembly passing laws only for the government then to ignore the will of the legislature? This important piece of legislation was intended to ensure that children in schools across Wales ate healthy food and compel schools to teach children what makes a well-balanced diet.

"The nutritional content of school meals has been a source of concern for some time. Feeding our children shouldn't be about putting the easiest and quickest food on their plates, it should be a vital part of feeding their appetite for learning and feeding their ability to learn.

"The nutritional content of school meals and children's general diet has been a source of concern for some time. The last decade has seen a startling increase in childhood obesity with an estimated one in four 11 to 15 year olds overweight or obese. Poor diet choices children make now may lead to higher risks of heart attack, type 2 diabetes and bowel cancer in adulthood.

"There is growing concern for people's diets in the media, with many television programmes encouraging healthy eating. Jenny Randerson's measure aims to ensure that children understand and learn about food and its affect on their health and place a duty on local authorities to ensure that school meals comply with nutritional regulations.

"I am extremely disappointed that the Labour Government had decided to shelve this very important piece of legislation. Either the Labour Government is deliberately ignoring the will of the Welsh legislature or they are too lazy to implement what was passed in the Assembly 30 months ago. Either way, it makes a mockery of their 'standing up for Wales' mantra."