The UK government is failing to ensure that children at primary schools are given healthy food, with more money spent on prison food than primary school lunches, according to a new report.

The daily amount spent on each child’s school lunch can be as low as 31p (US$0.52), compared with around 60p spent on a prisoner’s lunch, according to the Food for Life report published by the Soil Association. As a result, low quality processed food dominates school meals which are often high in fat, sugar and salt, the report said.

The Soil Association, which promotes and certifies organic produce, called for radical changes, starting with new nutritional standards for school meals which are closely monitored.

Peter Melchett, the Soil Association’s policy director, said, “All too often, children at primary school are fed muck off a truck. The Government acknowledges there are problems and must as a first step bring back quantified nutritional standards for school meals. Then parents, schools, local authorities, food suppliers, farmers and the Government need to work together to ensure school lunches are made from unprocessed, local and organic food.”