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Outrage over Stockholm school butter ban

Outrage over Stockholm school butter ban

Published: 15 Oct 2012 15:38 GMT+02:00
Updated: 15 Oct 2012 15:38 GMT+02:00

Parents are concerned after some Stockholm schools have chosen to stop serving students real butter on their sandwiches due to new stricter guidelines from the National Food Agency (Livsmedelsverket).

“I question these spreads, what is really in them? Is it OK that the kids are served any old low-fat spread?," one mother said to daily Dagens Nyheter (DN).

When the students in some of the capital’s schools returned after their summer holidays they found that the school canteens had removed real butter as an alternative to spread on the bread served together with the school lunch.

The reason for the change is a decision by the Stockholm City local authority in charge of education (Utbildningsnämnden) to make a schools adhere to guidelines issued by the agency.

Behind the decision are tightened rules in legislation regarding schools serving nutritious food. The local authority chose to make the guidelines from the National Food Agency be the guiding rule for all schools in the area.

“The National Schools Inspectorate, which checks that the schools follow the law recommend that the guidelines are followed, so that’s why we decided to do that,” said Lotta Edholm, Stockholm city councillor in charge of schools to DN.

Edholm also explained to the paper that schools are allowed to serve butter with the bread if the school cuts down on the amounts of saturated fats in the rest of the food served.

“In the end, it is a question for every principal to decide for themselves what will be served, but our interpretation is that it is completely possible to serve butter,” she said to DN.

However, according to Principal Ingela Fondin of a school in the Björkhagen suburb of Stockholm, the information to schools has been impossible to misinterpret:

“The instruction was clear or we wouldn’t have given it up,” said Fondin, to the paper.

“I can’t make my own decisions, as an employee I just have to deal with it,” she told DN.

However, according to the paper, several schools are choosing to serve the low-fat spread Becel instead of the butter – an alternative that some experts are warning could be bad for the children’s health.

“What I have mentioned before is the negative effects this can have when it comes to heart disease. But there is also research that indicates a link to cancer,” said Göran Petersson of the Chalmers University in western Sweden to the paper.

Meanwhile, despite having contacted the school and the local authority to no avail, parents are not happy with the new rules.

“Where’s the freedom of choice? I don’t think politics should decide how and what we should eat, there must be alternatives,” said one parent to DN.

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Your comments about this article

19:52 October 15, 2012 by stigskog
I think it is between parents , the child and the school. Nothing to do with the state. The state is a big fat parasite, and it needs to be eradicated.
21:21 October 15, 2012 by dizzymoe33
Real butter is way better for you than all that other fake stuff!! Did you know that margarine is one molecule away from being a plastic?! If you were to set out some margarine for awhile to wait for it to go bad the flies won't even touch the stuff!! Big brother needs to keep his nose out of it and let people decide what they want to have on their daily bread!!
21:44 October 15, 2012 by Beavis
Funny thing is the arla product "smör" is NOT real butter, its also contains atificial ingridients. Real butter is strangley not available in Sweden (but seemingly every other country in the world!) Whats even more odd is arla own Lupak which sells real butter in Denmark and exprt it worldwide, another example is Kerrygold, available everywhere in the world bar Sweden. These artificial spreads are far more dangerous than butter will ever be. I know many Swedes are also used to the "smör" taste, thinking its real- but every time if you have them taste real butter-they will dump the "smör" and never go back
22:47 October 15, 2012 by feathernoodle
Hmmm, the same thing is happening here in the U.S. thanks to Michelle Obama thinking she knows what's best for all children (except her own, who eat catered meals made by a renowned chef every day for lunch). The government needs to stay out of people's lives, they just mess it up. Going from real butter, which has healthy fats & oils that the body need to be healthy to "spreads" is ridiculous. I'm actually surprised anyone is complaining, I thought that wasn't the "Swedish way"?
06:40 October 16, 2012 by gofojo
Its not about butter as much is its about food and i believe, potentially the lower costs associated with distinctively non-diary products in a more food stressed world. As for Swedes complaining... well... I have never experienced a country with such a wonderful regard for children and childrens welfare ... that may explain that paradox.
10:34 October 17, 2012 by bryan73
This is a good proactive move by the government. Now that the obesity rate in Sweden has reached 10%, authorities must be looking at the U.S. where the obesity rate is above 33% and 70% of the population is either obese or overweight.

I worked in Texas for a while. What grotesque rolls of fat people are there. They shove their big fat bodies into their big fat SUVs and drive to the gas station to pick up their gallon big gulps. I have many friends there still, but I have to say they eat like pigs. I met with one rather young couple there recently and noticed they were no longer wearing their wedding rings. At first I thought that they split up. But no. The reason was their wedding rings no longer fit their chubby fingers.

I'm starting to see chunkier kids here in Sweden. Cutting only 10 calories per day could amount to something approaching one kilo per year for a child.
16:15 October 26, 2012 by sissygirl
Real butter has made a comeback in the US. It is much more expensive than margarine, but it tastes better and is healthier. Limits on school lunches won't cure an obesity problem. The problem is what kids eat outside of school, specifically at home.
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