Social media users expressed outrage on Tuesday after photos of food hampers containing ingredients described as “woefully inadequate” and “meagre” were posted on Twitter.
The Manchester United forward tweeted on Wednesday morning that the PM had told him a “full review of the supply chain is taking place”.
Just had a good conversation with the Prime Minister. He has assured me that he is committed to correcting the issue with the food hampers and that a full review of the supply chain is taking place. He agrees that images of hampers being shared on Twitter are unacceptable.
— Marcus Rashford MBE (@MarcusRashford) January 13, 2021
Speaking during Prime Minister’s Questions, Johnson said he was grateful to Rashford “who highlighted the issue”.
“The company in question has rightly apologised and agreed to reimburse.
“It’s because we want to see our kids properly fed throughout this very difficult pandemic that we’ve massively increased the value of what we’re providing.”
They are sent to families for lunches as their children study at home and are supplied by companies such as Chartwells.
Children’s minister Vicky Ford said the photos “do not reflect the high standard of free school meals we expect to be sent to children” and that the CEO of Chartwells had apologised.
Watch: Education secretary 'disgusted' at picture of free school meal
3 days of food for 1 family...
Just not good enough. pic.twitter.com/Y7FJEFFAma
— Marcus Rashford MBE (@MarcusRashford) January 11, 2021
#FreeSchoolMeals bag for 10 days:
2 days jacket potato with beans
8 single cheese sandwiches
2 days carrots
3 days apples
2 days soreen
3 days frubes
Spare pasta & tomato. Will need mayo for pasta salad.
Issued instead of £30 vouchers. I could do more with £30 to be honest. pic.twitter.com/87LGUTHXEu
— Roadside Mum 🐯 (@RoadsideMum) January 11, 2021
Education secretary Gavin Williamson said he was “absolutely disgusted” by the parcels.
He told the House of Commons Education Committee: “As a dad myself, I just thought, ‘How can a family in receipt of that really be expected to deliver five nutritious meals as required?’
“It is just not acceptable. It has being made absolutely clear to Chartwells and to the whole sector that that sort of behaviour is just not right, it will not be tolerated we will not live with that.
“There are clear standards as a sector that they need to deliver against, and if they do not deliver against them, actions will have to be taken.”
In a statement reacting to one photo yesterday, Chartwells said that “in our efforts to provide thousands of food parcels a week at extremely short notice we are very sorry the quantity has fallen short in this instance.
“Our 10-day hampers typically include a wide variety of nutritious food items to support the provision of lunches for children.”
Some pictures posted online are said to be provided by other suppliers.
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