Special school meals to be served to Sunderland pupils again following dairy checks

Maddison Wood with her mum Jemma.
Maddison Wood with her mum Jemma.

School dinners made for Wearside pupils with special diets will begin to be reintroduced from Monday.

Sunderland City Council suspended meals for 400 children this week while it checked recipes as a “precautionary measure” following a suggestion a non-dairy meal may have contained a dairy-based product.

On behalf of everyone in the city’s school meals service I would like to thank schools and all parents, guardians and pupils for their on-going patience and understanding during this short suspension.

Councillor Michael Mordey

Since the decision was made to halt the service on Wednesday, more than 100 special diet menus were put under a “detailed analysis.”

From Monday, around half the children affected by the suspension will be served a meal again, with the full service expected to return from next Friday.

Councillor Michael Mordey, cabinet member for city services, said: “Each day will see the reintroduction of more menus, including complex menus where children have allergies and intolerances to a combination of foods.

“On behalf of everyone in the city’s school meals service I would like to thank schools and all parents, guardians and pupils for their on-going patience and understanding during this short suspension.

“Any parent wanting to discuss their circumstances can contact the city council school’s catering manager.”

The service serves up more than 14,000 school meals each day.

Among those to be affected was six-year-old Newbottle Primary Academy pupil Maddison Wood, as the autistic youngster has a nut allergy.

Mum Jemma, 25, said: “She’s had amazing support from the school.

“I’m looking forward to knowing she’s had a hot meal during the winter when she’s at school.

“It has been chaotic because we didn’t know what was going on.

“Maddison’s been given extra provision from her teacher, which has been a real help.”

Any concerned parent can contact the council’s schools’ catering service manager on (0191) 561 4655.