FSA launches UK consultation on food competences for 7-9, 11-12, 14 and 16 year olds

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) today launched a public consultation, setting out the options for establishing a consensus view on the minimum food skills and knowledge that young people should
possess, understand and be able to apply by the ages of 7-9, 11-12, 14 and 16 .

Working with the British Nutrition Foundation to develop the core food competences framework, the consultation aims to help towards making it easier for young people to select healthier
choices, based on a sound understanding of key food skills and knowledge of what constitutes a healthy diet.

Building upon the Agency’s previous work, ‘Getting to Grips with Grub, Food Competences for 14-16 year Olds’ , the food competences for 7-9, 11-12, 14 and 16 encompass knowledge and skills
built around four main themes namely:

● diet and health
● consumer awareness
● food handling and preparation
● food safety

The food competences help those responsible for and/or working with young people to identify some of the building blocks that can help young people learn more about food and health. They
represent a way to help young people assess any gaps in learning opportunities.

The consultation promotes and encourages organisations and individuals to adopt the food competences through a voluntary approach, and those using them are free to build upon and expand them in
a range of ways to help deliver food-related activities to young people.

The framework of skills and knowledge do not represent a school’s curriculum requirement but apply to all learning experiences that young people are exposed to, including in and outside
of school, wider activities or through family life etc.

Rosemary Hignett, Head of Nutrition of the Food Standards Agency, commented: ‘Taking action to improve the next generation’s knowledge and skills is vital if we are to influence young
people’s eating habits to benefit them, their families and future generations. We need to tackle poor diets and increasing rates of childhood obesity, so the Agency is working hard to
help young people choose, cook and eat safe and healthier foods.’

The Agency is consulting with a wide range of stakeholders within the food, nutrition, health and education sectors and those that have an interest in the development of young people, to gauge
their views, opinions and recommendations. In addition the views and ideas of young people form a valuable contribution and the Agency is utilising its network of nine schools’ councils to
capture the feedback of primary and secondary aged young people.

In the 12-week consultation period, feedback from all these parties will be carefully considered by the Agency in conjunction with the British Nutrition Foundation, after which a consensus
view, together with the proposals for the development of supporting materials, will be published by the end of October 2007.


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