Sharon has been presented with an award for her campaigning on school food standards.
The MP accepted the Chairman’s Award at the Local Authority Caterers Association conference in Birmingham on Thursday (13 July) night for her efforts in trying to protect school food standards. Mrs Hodgson has been leading the campaign in Parliament against the Coalition government’s decision to exempt academies and free schools, in which more than a million pupils and rising are taught, from following the nutritional standards put in place by Labour following Jamie Oliver’s Feed Me Better campaign.
Mrs Hodgson was also praised for forming and chairing the All-Party Parliamentary Group on School Food, which brings together school caterers and child health experts with Parliamentarians to discuss issues like school meals, as well as food, health and cooking education in schools.
Mrs Hodgson said: “I am both proud and humbled to win this award, especially given the great work by many others in the sector and in Parliament on this issue.
“For too many children, the meal they get at school may be the only proper meal they have all day, so it is vital that that meal is a good one, which is why I have been campaigning so hard alongside the experts to convince the government that they are wrong to exempt so many schools from the evidence-based standards Labour put in place for the sake of political dogma.
“Instilling healthy eating and lifestyle habits in children through the education system is by far the best way to tackle the rising obesity epidemic the UK faces, the costs of which will continue to spiral unless the Government takes the matter seriously. I am therefore determined to continue campaigning to make Ministers listen to the experts.”
The Local Authority Caterers Association (LACA) is the professional body representing school food providers – more information is available on their website: http://www.laca.co.uk/about-us
Recent research has highlighted that academies and free schools have begun to allow previously banned food and drink back into schools.