Canteen managers face court

Parents have every reason to worry about what kind of food their children eat at school. Inspections made by teams from the Athens Prefecture of 452 school canteens since the start of the school year found that 39.2 percent of them were selling items that are not among those allowed by the legislation and that 12.4 percent did not even have an operating permit. So far, 43 canteen managers are facing the public prosecutor while another 158 have received warnings. Recent inspections of food manufacturers that service schools found many violations of the law. Thirteen out of 27 manufacturers were charged with selling goods that were spoiled or past their use-by date. Obesity is a major problem for Greek children, 40 percent of whom are considered to be overweight (a figure that has doubled in the past 20 years). Dealing with the problem is bound up with control of school canteens, since school is where children spend most of their time. Current regulations allow school canteens to sell only rolls, toasted cheese sandwiches, simple bread products, raisin bread, cheese and spinach pies, milk, yogurt, fruit and fruit juice. But they often make space on their shelves for other products that pupils may find more tempting, such as chips, sodas and chocolate, full of fat, salt and sugar.

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