Jamie Oliver rages against 'crime' of junk-food diets

The television chef Jamie Oliver has fiercely criticised parents who feed their children "junk", describing some youngsters' diets as a crime.

He said 70 per cent of packed lunches given to schoolchildren were "disgraceful" and he would like to see them banned.

Oliver said headteachers were too frightened of some parents to tell them what they should be giving their child to bring to school. He called on the Government to take the lead and give teachers the power to confiscate junk food at the school gates, because schools lacked the confidence to take such radical steps on their own.

He expressed disappointment at the Government's announcement this week that voluntary cookery lessons will be provided for secondary pupils arguing that only compulsory classes would be effective.

Oliver criticises parents in his new television show Jamie's Return to School Dinners, the follow-up to his successful Channel 4 series on improving school meals.

In the programme Oliver says: "I've spent two years being PC about parents, now is the time to say, 'If you're giving your young children fizzy drinks you're an arsehole, you're a tosser. If you give them bags of crisps you're an idiot. If you aren't cooking them a hot meal, sort it out.' If they truly care they've got to take control."

Speaking after a preview screening of the new programme, Oliver said: "I have seen kids of the ages of four or five, the same age as mine, open their lunchbox and inside is a cold, half-eaten McDonald's, multiple packets of crisps and a can of Red Bull. We laugh and then want to cry.

"I have no doubts that these parents love their children," he said. But he added that if a teacher told a parent that their child tended to get very tired at the end of the day, it was wrong to think the solution was "a can of Red Bull because it gives you wings - you might as well give them a line of coke".

He said it was a problem he had seen across the country in both rich and poor schools. Asked whether he would like to see a ban on packed lunches he said: "Many ofus would like to say 'yes, if there were facilities for better hot meals in all schools'. I would love it but that will not happen."

He said: "Packed lunches are a problem. Most of them, whatever anyone says, aren't appropriate."

Oliver also called for a ban on junk food advertising for children and in the new programme tells Tony Blair that a voluntary code sounds "a bit wet". Mr Blair promises Oliver an extra £240m to improve school dinners for another three years and a package of measures which were announced earlier this week.

After a huge campaign sparked by the first series Mr Blair agreed to commit £280m for proper ingredients and training. But Oliver said he was "pissed off" because £45m of that was based on a Lottery promise that hadn't actually been signed off.

In Jamie's Return to School Dinners, he goes to Lincolnshire, where kitchens were removed from schools to save money during the Thatcher years and where nearly 50,000 children take a packed lunch. The programme sees him attempt to reintroduce hot meals into the county by collaborating with local pubs and restaurants.

Oliver said he was "not saying parents are bad" but that the problem was they had not been taught how to provide healthy meals.

"These young parents haven't been taught from the family unit which is the best teacher. For whatever reason, be it work or whatever, they haven't done that."

Jamie's Return To School Dinners will be shown on Channel 4 on September 18

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Personal Tax Senior

    £28000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

    Recruitment Genius: Customer and Markets Development Executive

    £22000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company's mission is to ma...

    Recruitment Genius: Guest Services Assistant

    £13832 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This 5 star leisure destination on the w...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Account Manager

    £20000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Account Manager is requ...

    Day In a Page

    A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

    A nap a day could save your life

    A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
    If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

    If men are so obsessed by sex...

    ...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
    The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

    Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

    The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
    The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

    Rolling in the deep

    The bathing machine is back but with a difference
    Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

    Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

    Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

    Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
    House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

    The honours that shame Britain

    Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
    When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

    'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

    Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
    International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

    International Tap Festival comes to the UK

    Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
    War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
    Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

    'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

    Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
    Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

    BBC heads to the Californian coast

    The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
    Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

    Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

    Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
    Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

    Car hacking scandal

    Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
    10 best placemats

    Take your seat: 10 best placemats

    Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory