Due to the recent case of food poisoning in Belgrade elementary schools, we had the opportunity to be a guest on Serbian national television, this time on RTS 1’s morning program, in a show that was broadcast on Friday, October 13. Colleague Gordana Kosanović from the Ministry of Education (MPNTR) and our head of education and training Steve Quarrie presented the new initiative of the Minister of Education on improving the quality of nutrition in primary schools and the progress achieved so far on the Strength2Food project in data collection and the selection of schools for the pilot project .

In a 14-minute long clip (available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KqUfknW1b0E) we announced the planned events of the Strength2Food project, such as the organization of the Hybrid Forum and the visit of the Barilla team in November this year. The hybrid forum, which we are organizing on November 27 in the Petnica research center near Valjevo, will gather all interested parties in one place in order to improve the quality of food in schools on the one hand, and provide direct access to the local market for agricultural producers. The visit of the Barilla team (head chef and nutritionist), which is planned for November, should allow our colleagues from Italy to get to know the chefs in the Serbian schools, the conditions and equipment they work with, the eating habits of the children, etc. Gordana Kosanović emphasized the importance of the Ministry’s new initiative on improving the quality of nutrition in primary schools in Serbia.

The Ministry of Education (MPNTR) has established a working group that will analyze the possibilities for improving school nutrition and encourage even more primary schools to prepare meals in their kitchens. The team will focus on the criteria in the tender documentation for the procurement of food in schools, in order to improve the control of food safety and develop nutrition quality standards. Also, the goal is to discourage schools that allow children to buy food from vending machines, chips or chocolate bars.

We also presented a new website developed by MPNTR on the Strength2Food project in order to provide educational materials, recipes, menus that will provide children with food with greater nutritional value, both for cooks and teachers, and for children and parents.

The morning program on RTS is the most watched morning program in Serbia and will provide visibility to the Strength2Food project, but also draw the attention of primary schools in Serbia to new initiatives in this area, so we hope for the interest of a larger number of schools across the country that we have not had access to so far.

Steve Quarrie
Head of education and training at BSN/EUTA