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Empty plate. Wikicommons

Corporate greed leaves children hungry

Marta Tuul recommended by Marta Tuul Eesti Ekspress, Estonia

A large food catering company is serving nursery schools food that's full of sugar and empty  of nutrition -- leaving parents concerned and young children malnourished.

Estonia Smoke signals

Why this story matters:

education,business,health

After a large catering company, P.Dussmann OÜ, won a low-bid contract to serve meals to nursery schools and kindergartens, one mother noticed that her child started coming home from school hungry.

The parent called health control agents, which analyzed the menu and found that the foods being served had few nutrients and were loaded with sugar. While a healthy children's diet may contain up to 40 grams of sugar, P.Dussmann's menu had that amount in just one meal.

"There is too much sugar in the menus," one nursery school manager said. "Menus are repeated, contain half-finished products, and have too much wheat products." 

The national standard stipulates a child must receive an average of 900-960 kilocalories per day in nursery school and about 1,360 to 1,400 in kindergarten. Menus should have 60 percent carbohydrates, but the company apparently replaced energy-rich carbohydrates with cheap sugars that are not filling.  

Kindergartens have struggled to cancel their contracts with P.Dussmann, which threatened one municipality with a 130,000 euro fine. The governor is hoping for a settlement but is ready to go to court if necessary.

The National Institute for Health Development said it is not surprised at P.Dussmann's unhealthy menus, noting the problem is more common than many people know.

Details from the story:

  • P.Dussmann OÜ has been offering low-nutrient, high-sugar school meals to young children
  • The company has threatened schools with fines if they attempt to cancel their contracts
  • The municipalities are trying to negotiate a solution but will litigate if necessary

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