Wednesday, April 27, 2011

DPM: Nasi lemak will not be taken off school canteen menu

Nasi lemak will not be taken off the school canteen menu, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said.

Even if it were to be dropped, canteen operators should be given time to come up with a new menu, he said.

Muhyiddin said the views of everyone concerned, including the operators, would be considered before deciding on what food could be sold in schools.

“If the instruction (to remove nasi lemak) is immediate, the operators will have to bear losses,” he added.

Muhyiddin, who is Education Minister, said the ministry had yet to discuss the issue with the Health Ministry.

“We have to come up with a menu that is acceptable to all,” he said after closing the Unit Trusts Week here yesterday.

Muhyiddin said food sold in schools wasn’t the only reason behind the issue of obesity among school children.

“Their families also have to guide and ensure their children do not eat food that is too oily and low in nutrition,” he added.

Under the Health Ministry’s new guidelines that will come into effect next month, canteens can only serve nasi lemak twice a week while burgers, sausages and nuggets have been banned.

Meanwhile, a special programme to address obesity among the youngsters would be introduced soon, said Education director-general Datuk Abd Ghafar Mahmud.

He said the initiative would be carried out by the two ministries and the guidelines on healthy food at schools would be updated and handed to the Health Ministry for enforcement.

“We will study the proposal and will submit it to the Health Ministry on how to produce the best programme, especially on a healthy diet for students,” he said after attending the 2010 SPM Excellence Award presentation yesterday.

Cheras Education Foundation chairman Datuk Wira Syed Ali Alhabshee said a healthy diet could produce students who ex-cel in their studies.

“The ministry can draw up the guidelines on diet, but it all depends on the students themselves,” he said, adding that nasi lemak was not the main cause of obesity among students.

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