The campaign by Jamie Oliver to persuade the Government to impose a sugar tax in the light of the long delayed report by Public Health England, “Sugar reduction: the evidence for action” coincides with a campaign here in Brighton & Hove to reduce sugar intake within our city. These campaigns deserve our widespread support and one can only hope that all three of the MPs for the city will cooperate together to ensure that the Government receives a cross party request for him to respond positively to the call from the naked Chef and PHE. As it appears David Cameron has not even read the PHE report which was delayed until after the party conferences and finally published yesterday, at the very least Simon Kirby could ask the PM to read the report. However these campaigns will not address a more widespread problem that is currently unfolding across the nation. As our local Schools break up for half term today, a small number of those studying GCSEs and A Levels will be grappling with course work on food related topics. These young men and women will be gaining vital skills and knowledge as our society attempts to address issues of sugar intake and other food related matters. Next year however things will be very different for those choosing the subjects that they wish to study. Those studying at GCSE level will be faced with one subject known as ‘Food Preparation and Nutrition’ which consolidates the four existing exams on offer. Meanwhile those selecting A Levels from September 2016 will discover that they have no food related exams to choose from as a result of a decision by OFQUAL that was announced on 16th July. This means that in subsequent years there will be no students from English Schools with food related A Levels to prepare them to study food related subjects at Degree Level. This is a major concern and needs to be reversed immediately. The Director General of the Food and Drinks Federation currently argues that we don’t understand nutrition well enough to participate in the debate on sugar. Last night on Question Time Nadhim Zahawi MP argued that a tax was not what was needed, but instead we need to be educated. Removing A Level options from 16 year olds begins to appear deeply sinister, or grossly incompetent! What will the students inspired by the Great British Bake Off baking of Martha Collison (above) do to follow in her footsteps in becoming food scientists. What about the Environmental Health Officers we will need to inspect food businesses?
As Martha wrote today on Twitter:
I agree completely – scrapping food A level makes no sense and without it my passion would not have been fuelled. So important!