News review

Kids’ meals league table

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Jamie’s Italian has come top of the class in the Soil Association’s latest assessment of the food available to children in 21 of the high street’s leading restaurant chains. The company scored 64 out of 80; however only four other outlets scored more than half marks: Harvester, Giraffe, Wetherspoons and Wagamama. Over half of restaurants give no indication of where their food comes from. Burger King propped up the table with a score of 11.

 

Sugar tax “recommended”

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Public Health England has included a tax on full sugar soft drinks as one of eight recommendations to cut intake. The independent body also wants to see advertising of junk foods to be reduced and the government buying standards for food adopted and monitored right across the public sector. Earlier this week the PHE chief executive was hauled in front of the House of Commons health committee and asked to explain why he hadn’t yet published the report. Perhaps Jamie Oliver had got wind of it – the celebrity chef was quizzed immediately after Duncan Selbie and told MPs that, contrary to some reports, he understood fiscal measures to tackle obesity hadn’t yet been ruled out.

 

Insects safe to eat

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The European Food Safety Authority has concluded that farmed insects are a safe protein source for human consumption. In theory – there are a number of holes in the evidence available, however. EFSA looked at a range of potential hazards – biological, chemical, environmental as well as any risk regarding allergens – and concluded that, so long as they are produced as other livestock are, there shouldn’t be any issues. Insects could provide a low-carbon protein source. Restaurant chain Wahaca is one company that’s tried encouraging entomophagy, but its “Chapulines fundido” (cheesy grasshoppers), introduced in 2013, seem to have hopped off the menu this year.

 

Apprenticeship inquiry

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The All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Visitor Economy has launched an inquiry into apprenticeships and skills development in the hospitality and tourism industry. The APPG has issued a call for written evidence on the key challenges and opportunities for apprenticeships and how the government can attract more apprenticeships to the industry. A reduction of VAT in tourism is one option on the table.

 

Staff wellness to wellbeing

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Onsite fitness classes and free activity trackers are nice, but they’re not enough if employers want to improve the wellbeing of staff. According to a new report from JJL, the investment management firm, in order to make a more meaningful investment in employee health – and gain the productivity “uptick” that can come with it – companies need to move beyond wellness and think about the more comprehensive concept of wellbeing. JJL highlights the importance of office environment, however there’s no mention of the role food and nutrition can play in staff wellbeing.

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