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Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution: TV Host Criticized by Health Minister

Jamie Oliver's Food RevolutionThe ABC TV show, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, follows British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver as he tries to convince residents of a West Virginia community to eat healthier. He begins by proposing a new menu for school lunches.

Oliver started a similar school lunch program in his homeland called School Dinners. According to U.K. Health Secretary Andrew Lansley, Oliver’s actions have driven the kids away from school food.

He said, “Jamie Oliver, quite rightly, was talking about trying to improve the diet of children in schools and improving school meals, but the net effect was the number of children eating school meals in many of these places didn’t go up, it went down. So then the schools said: ‘It’s OK to bring packed lunches but we’ve got to determine what’s in the packed lunches.’ To which the parents’ response was that they gave children money, and children are actually spending more money outside school, buying snacks in local shops, instead of on school lunches.”

Lansley also said, “If we are constantly lecturing people and trying to tell them what to do, we will actually find that we undermine and are counterproductive in the results that we achieve.”

Oliver responded and said, “I’m not encouraged by the news that the new health minister has summed up eight years of hard work in a few lines for the sake of a headline. To say School Dinners hasn’t worked is not just inaccurate but is also an insult to the hard work of hundreds of thousands of dinner ladies, teachers, headteachers and parent helpers who strive to feed school kids a nutritious, hot meal for 190 days of the year.”

He continued, ”Any problems that we’ve been having in school meals is more often than not down to continuing lack of funds for training of school catering staff. But although the minister has simplified the school dinners situation for an easy headline, he is right in one respect. Yes, people need government support to make key lifestyle changes to improve public health.”
”What better way to show support than to invest in education so that all children can have compulsory cooking lessons and all adults can have access to a food centre which teaches core cooking skills and how to cook fresh, tasty, affordable and nutritious food?”

Oliver concluded, “I hope that [the minister and I] can meet soon so I can hear more about his practical ideas for ensuring this generation of children doesn’t die earlier than their parents.”

On this side of the ocean, ABC has yet to decide if Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution will be back for a second season. The series didn’t get very good ratings but it is a feel-good show that likely doesn’t cost a lot to produce.

What do you think? Do you think there’s value in what Oliver is trying to do? Do people simply need education to eat better or is the problem a lot more complex?

 

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous May 1, 2011 at 10:59 am

@ Doug… Sure he’s a liberal who’s trying to change things. He’s not trying to change what you SEND your kids to school with. Only what the administration serves. If you don’t like what the school provides and feel like your kids should get the fatty stuff that kills off Americans early and drives up our health care costs, you’ll get a disapproving glance, but that’s all.

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Bradders September 24, 2010 at 8:38 am

This is a guy with so much passion for what he is doing it’s untrue.

He’s a millionaire – he’s not doing this to make money – he could retire tomorrow and live a wonderful life.
He’s doing this to help others and he believes so strongly in what he does. America has long been at the centre of making life easy for themselves and now its killing their children. Yes cooking a real meal can be time consuming and sometimes hard work, but the simple fact is easy to make 5 minute processed meals and fast food will mean your children could well die before you, or if not will lead them to live a diminished quality of life. how disgusting was it to see children as old as 10 not eating with a knife snd fork at school.. and having to be taught how to use them. elementary children not even recognising the simplist vegetables …. not even the potatoe that makes their beloved frech fries….. and the dinner ladies and parents seeming to argue against every improvement Jamie was trying to introduce. He’s trying to save the lives of your children

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Molly August 26, 2010 at 1:34 pm

At the end of each season, bring the videos and results of the cross-country work to the nation’s leaders – the ones who can actually change laws….that incentivize schools for healthier eating.

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Molly August 26, 2010 at 1:29 pm

In other words ABC, get behind Jamie and provide him with a heavy hitter list of teammates and invest in America’s kids! Have people come along in each state such as Micheal Pollin, other healthy chefs and sports pros who can influence state managements and food service workers. Work with state food management to produce marketing materials for healthy choices in eating with contests between schools/districts/states. Have regional finalists be greeted by Michele Obama and a host of other icons for a celebratory day on the South Lawn or have them win tickets for the next Olympics. Have Jamie visit the state house with other pro-health chefs/professionals to ask that all kitchens be supplied with equipment that enables fresh-food cooking, not giant walk-in freezers for tater tots. Hold a week of cooking classes for parents and kids, not just one family and have a cooking contest. Have Jillian (The Biggest Loser) give away a fitness membership and personal training in a given city. Have Arnold and Maria come out and join the show in California to promote that healthy eating is one-half of the fitness/health regimine. Have an event where the school soda machine is donated to the auto-mechanic/metal work classes and challenge them to make something out of it by the end of the week or to a junk-yard and have them watch it being crushed remotely as a part of their commitment to eat fresh/local foods. Have cameras shoot every aspect of the challenge to make Jamie the center but show the other pro-health peeps working their magic. Only have healthy food and sports equipment sponsors – Kashi, Sobe Water, health food bars, raisins, etc. Get rid of the processed food sponsors – be done with it!! Can you tell I’m passionate about a course correction for our kids? I don’t have children but have relatives young and old who suffer the effects of unhealthy lifestyles. Instead of building cancer centers, we need to multiply the number of Jamie’s there are in the world and get behind this with full force! C’mon ABC – you can “GO ALL THE WAY”! You could be the tipping point for a healthier next generation.

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Molly August 26, 2010 at 1:21 pm

Jamie Oliver’s show is an amazing concept with the most amazing chef however, the producers/writers could be better prepared so Jamie isn’t ambusheD by stick-in-the mud thinking on food service who have to follow outdated “US food guidelines” (whatever that is). To be more comprehensive, why not go to every state house (and meet with the Governor, HHS Secretary, and relative state and city officials to encourage their support before going into the schools and shocking the food service workers. The superintendents/schools/foodservice workers should be predisposed to a change in thinking/delivery by their own state and city leaders. Working with preventive health/pro-health professionals and legislative decision makers is the only way the state’s will change their food service quality and health factor. Having a team of people showing up instead of Jamie being the lone guy from the U.K. starting a movement in obese America is a better approach. Heck, hand the show over, I’ll line up the right teams in each state and start a real revolution. I work in preventive health PR/Marketing.

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Tadd July 6, 2010 at 8:21 am

Love liberal especially English ones. Go jamie love ya and what your trying to do. We americans are kind of thick sometimes when people are trying to help. Sorry .

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Doug July 5, 2010 at 11:47 pm

jamie oliver is just another liberal, an English liberal, who DOES NOT KNOW HOW TO LIVE AND LET LIVE !!

PERIOD

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