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Free And Healthy Lunch For Pupils

 

Updated : Jul 14, 2009

Councils are to spend up to €1.7m providing free and healthy school lunches to Dublin pupils in the next year.

A catering company is being sought to prepare and distribute meals to dozens of schools taking part in the scheme.

The contract winner will be responsible for supplying and delivering sandwiches, rolls, fruit, yoghurt drinks and milk for the 2009-2010 school year.

That breaks down to between 7,500 to 8,000 sandwiches a day during the school year.

Meanwhile, 20,000 pieces of fresh fruit will be sent out three days a week.

Sandwich fillings rotate between cheese, chicken and meat. And pupils will wash this down with 32,000 cartons of milk and 19,800 yoghurt drinks.

The quality standards for sandwiches include minimum dietary fibre levels in the bread and use of Emmental cheese "or equivalent". Brands of cheese and fruit have to be specified. The fruit has to be "uniform in size and of the very best brand".

The Urban School Meals Scheme is half-funded by the Department of Community and Family Affairs, but administered by individual authorities.

Each year, some 34 out of 85 eligible local authorities take part. There have been relatively few changes to the scheme since it was first introduced.

Of the participating councils, Dublin City Council is the largest, accounting for about 10pc of the total expenditure on school meals.

Local authorities can recoup half of their expenditure on the provision of meals for eligible children, but must cover all administration costs.

The School Meals Programme provides funding for the provision of food services for disadvantaged children through a second, non-statutory scheme governing local projects.

 

 

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