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Stockholm schools in butter ban backlash

After thousands of children, parents, teachers and principals across Stockholm have expressed their outrage against the capital’s butter ban in schools, the city administration has decided to bring the spread back.

Stockholm schools in butter ban backlash

According to the city councillor for schools, Lotta Edholm, the kids and their parents are right to be upset:

“I have tried to communicate that the schools can serve both butter and low fat spread if they want. The cleverest solution would be to let the students choose. But unfortunately the message I wanted to get across has got lost along the way,” said Edholm to daily Dagens Nyheter (DN).

The reason for the initial change was a decision by the Stockholm City local authority in charge of education (Utbildningsnämnden) to make schools adhere to guidelines issued by the National Food Agency (Livsmedelsverket).

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

The majority of Stockholm schools therefore removed the more butter-based spreads and replaced them with low fat alternative Becel, a controversial choice due to some scientists linking it with heart-disease and cancer, or other low fat spreads.

But according to Lotta Edholm the guidelines never meant a ban on butter in schools.

“My interpretation of the guidelines has from the beginning been that schools can serve both butter and marge. The School’s Inspectorate’s (Skolinspektionen) interpretation is different. And I find it a little strange that the Inspectorate chooses to blindly listen to the National Food Agency,” Edholm said.

According to Edholm the kids should have the choice between the butter and the low-fat spread and she repudiated any claim that the butter was removed due to Stockholm children being overweight and needing to diet.

“No, they definitely don’t need to diet. If we could just have been able to sort this out ourselves without listening to the School’s Inspectorate I don’t think anyone, politician or official, would have even thought of removing the butter in favour of marge,” said Edholm to the paper.

The Local/rm

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LIVSMEDELSVERKET

Banned substance found in Swedish candy bars

The makers of Sweden's Kexchoklad chocolate bars have halted production of the popular treat after a substance banned by the EU for use in food production was found at a Swedish factory.

Banned substance found in Swedish candy bars

Companies Cloetta and Göteborgs Kex were also forced to halt production of Smörgåsrån crackers and Sportlunch candy bars following the discovery of the antibiotic chloramphenicol.

According to Sweden’s National Food Agency (Livsmedelsverket), however, the levels of chloramphenicol are so low that the substance doesn’t pose a risk to consumers. As a result, no general recall of the products is planned.

Chloramphenicol has been widely used previously as a broad-spectrum antibiotic. It’s inexpensive and can be used to fight a number of different bacteria.

It’s rarely used in Sweden, however, due to known the adverse side-effect of bone marrow toxicity.

Today, chloramphenicol is used primarily to treat eye infections.

Cloetta spokesman Jacob Broberg said the discovery of chloramphenicol at its production facilities can likely be traced to an enzyme used as one of the ingredients.

“What’s seems to have happened is that one of our suppliers has changed producers and that producer didn’t inform the supplier,” he told the TT news agency.

He added that responsibility for ensuring products contain the right ingredients lies with the suppliers, although Cloetta does regular testing as well.

“In this case, we didn’t know exactly what they were looking for, which makes it hard to find it. What was in the enzyme isn’t something we normally look for,” said Broberg.

The enzyme responsible for the chloramphenicol contamination was quickly removed from the production chain, meaning there’s little risk that fans of the crispy chocolate treats will find them hard to come by.

TT/The Local/dl

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