Jamie Oliver slams ‘weird’ government; insists ‘obesity bigger problem than hunger’
12:54 21 June 2012
“Devastated” celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has blasted the government as “illogical, unreasonable and weird.”
Oliver is furious that rules on healthy school meals have not been enforced inside academies – which are quasi-autonomous from government.
Under current arrangements, it is claimed academies can by-pass regulations governing school meals.
Oliver slammed what he claims is an erosion of standards by the Coalition in power.
He lashed out following two ‘pointless’ meetings with Education Secretary Michael Gove about how to tackle obesity in children caused by unhealthy eating.
“I’ve lost faith in Government. I’ll pay my taxes, but I don’t particularly expect to see anything,” said Oliver.
“Michael Gove is a nice enough chap and he’s got great energy, but it took me a couple of meetings to realise there’s no point in going back again.
“He’s saying that he doesn’t want to tell people what to do, but the thing is, you have standards for nursing, teaching and these are legal requirements and standards.
“I don’t think in this current health environment, that one man has the right to take away something that would help prolong people’s lives and make them more enjoyable and hopefully set up some better habits long-term.”
The TV show Oliver hosted called Jamie’s School Meals triggered reform of canteen menus across the country by setting new standards.
“I know people don’t want to over-manage or micro-manage, but we are in the middle of two extremes - hunger and obesity,” he said.
“For the first time, the latter has taken over famine. It’s a massive, massive problem and what he’s basically saying is that he’s not going to change his mind about it, until he’s out of power or if it proves to make a negative difference.
“The thing is, these standards will take about two or three years to fully erode. I don’t understand why we have to go through this erosion one way or another,” Oliver told the Press Association.
In parliament this week, Mr Gove hailed the famous chef’s “passion.”
“All schools need to improve the quality of their meals, and we’ll be making an announcement shortly - not a U-turn - but building upon the platform that Jamie Oliver has created.”