More than a million children could be eating an unhealthy lunch because their schools are exempt from tough food standards, council leaders have warned. The Local Government Association claims some schools are "ducking their moral responsibility".
A spokesman for the Children's Food Trust said evidence shows that schools are offering healthier meals and children are eating more nutritious lunches since national school food standards were put in place.
The average meal is lower in fat, sugar and salt, more children are having water to drink instead of sugary drinks and the amount of fruit and veg on pupils' plates has gone up.
There's still a long way to go but the level playing field created by the standards has been key - and our studies show that when children eat a healthier lunch, they do better in the afternoons.
Chairman of the Local Government Association's children and young people board, David Simmonds, said the current Government strategy on healthy school meals has resulted in a "two-tier system".
Mr Simmonds said:
As champions for parents and children, councils with new public health responsibilities will want to hold all schools to account if they are ducking their moral duty to give students the best chance of living a happy and healthy life.
We now need Government to do its part by introducing an acceptable food standard that will allow councils to hold all schools to account for the nutritional quality of food they serve their pupils.