Children in school (illustrative)
Children in school (illustrative)Israel news photo: Flash 90

The Knesset’s Rights of the Child Committee is planning a special discussion Wednesday on the question of food, and food safety, in Israel’s schools.

The meeting was called after a recent investigation turned up worrying results: MKs found that a series of concerns raised in 2009 about nutrition and hygiene in schools have not been addressed.

A 2009 State Comptroller’s Report warned of significant failings in the system used in many schools in which private companies provide a daily hot lunch for students. The comptroller’s investigation found that the companies sometimes failed to provide part of the meal, leaving it nutritionally lacking, and in some cases, failed to provide sufficient quantities of food.

The investigation also found that oversight of hygiene was virtually non-existent. The Health Ministry is not involved due to a lack of budget and of manpower, and many municipalities are not involved, either.

The Education Ministry has not set clear guidelines regarding municipal oversight of the health standards pertaining to the food served in local schools, the comptroller found. The ministry has been operating an oversight project since 2007, but the program was only implemented in some schools.

MKs found that the comptroller’s concerns over oversight remain equally valid in 2013.