Blog: Kids’ food in the spotlight again

Catherine Sleep | 21 September 2005

A report from the UK government’s Pesticides Residue Committee indicates that pesticide levels in the fruit and vegetables provided to state school children are higher than in produce sold in the supermarkets. Jamie Oliver would not approve.

The School Fruit & Vegetable Scheme is generally greeted with enthusiasm. Offering wholesome fruit and veg to the most vulnerable and impressionable among us is laudable, but concern over higher-than-usual pesticide levels is understandable. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

I’m in a somewhat related quandary. In my quest to be Top Mum, I’m making all my baby son’s food myself, as do many Mums of my acquaintance. (Yes, I toyed with saying “Mums and Dads” but let’s face it, it’s largely the Mums.) The irony is that pesticide levels in commercial jars of baby food have to be so low, by law, that they might well be ‘healthier’ than the pureed veg I concoct myself, with my homemade no-salt stock and other delights.

A solution, of course, could be to buy organic veg and fruit, but even this cunning plan is not without a hitch. Where I live it is only possible to buy a limited range of organic produce. We’ve pretty much exhausted the variety of organic fruit and veg already, just a few weeks into weaning. Yet it’s important to offer babies a wide range of flavours and textures if you are going to encourage an adventurous palate later in life. It feels like a no-win situation and there are a lot of parents in the same boat. Just another of the many compromises you have to strike along the rocky trail known as parenting I guess. Maybe you just always feel you could be doing a better job.

Anyway….. while we’re talking about children’s food, let me draw your attention to a fantastic new report just-food has commissioned into that very subject. If you sell food to children, or you’d like to, you’d be wise to take a look. There’s some meaty forecast data in there, right up to 2010.

Global market review of children’s modern eating trends – forecasts to 2010


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