Meals are ordered from suppliers licensed by the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) as food factories for supplying meal boxes and delivered to schools where rice and vegetables are cooked on the day with electric stoves.
Meals are distributed to students in reusable trays. Cutlery used is also reusable.
Meals may preferably be taken in a designated dining area or in classrooms depending on the space available at individual schools.
Reusable trays and cutlery are thoroughly washed and dried at school for reuse, and recycled end-of-life. Lifespan of reusable trays is around 2 to 4 years.
Avoid disposable containers and cutlery.
Reduce food waste. The amount of food served can be flexibly adjusted according to individual students.
Healthier food with better nutritional value and freshness preserved.
Eating in better environment provides opportunities for students to develop good social skills, personal hygiene practices, food manners and civic-mindedness.
A cleaner study environment in classroom can be maintained. The manpower requirement to take care of students in different classrooms during lunch is reduced.
Increases opportunity for students to exercise by walking from classroom to dining area and back.
Schools committed to protecting the environment and promoting the health of students through serving a balanced meal should implement ‘on-site meal portioning’ as far as possible, and overcome the space constraint.
Some 40 m2 of space for the food catering area.
Additional space for the dining area, if available, e.g. 280m2 for 400 students.
Guidelines on food safety
Schools should follow the “Guidelines on How to Ensure School Lunches Ordered are Safe” issued by the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, as well as additional food safety advice by the Department of Health, in order to uphold the safety standard of food provided to students, be it packed in lunch boxes or portioned on site. Additional advice provided by the Department of Health are as follows:
Staff involve in food preparation should perform daily checking and make sure the refrigerator is clean and functioning properly. Keep the refrigerator at or below 4℃ and the freezers at or below -18℃.
They should avoid storage of too much food to maintain proper temperature inside the refrigerator.
They should use proper containers for food storage, avoid use newspaper or coloured plastic bags.
They should report sick leave and refrain from handling food if suffering from illness such as fever, diarrhoea and vomiting.
Guidelines on heathy meal
On-site meal portioning’ provides a good opportunity for healthier meals, including nutritious lunches meeting the recommended grain: vegetables: meat (and its substitutions) ratio of 3:2:1 with adequate amount of freshly cooked vegetables. There is better control over and elimination of “strongly discouraged food items” from school lunch. Schools may also take the opportunity to stop the sale of unhealthy or ‘red’ snacks.
In gist, schools should make good use of the benefits of ‘on-site meal portioning’ to provide healthier meals for students as follows:
Daily choice of lunch is no more than two.
Quantity of lunch should comply with the recommendations in the “Nutritional Guidelines on School Lunch for Primary School Students” issued by the Department of Health, and adjust according to individual need.
All lunch choices provide grains & cereals : vegetables : meat (and its substitution) in the ratio of 3 : 2 : 1 by volume.
All menus provide at least one serving of vegetable (such as half bowl of cooked leafy vegetable, gourd or mushroom).
If there is only one choice of grains & cereals daily, the relevant requirement in the“Nutritional Guidelines on School Lunch for Primary School Students”will be interpreted as providing whole grains or grains & cereals with added vegetable at least two days per week.
All lunch choices will not contain food or drinks that are classified as“Strongly Discouraged Food Items”in the“Nutritional Guidelines on School Lunch for Primary School Students”, such as deep-fried pork chop, French fries, desserts, soft drinks, fruit-tasted drinks, salted fish, salted egg, etc.
Other Implementation Measures
Use serving utensil with partitions in the ratio of 3 : 2 : 1 by volume.
Use ladles of different volume to control the amount of grains & cereals distributed to students of senior and junior grades.
Serve sauce and gravy separately from grains to avoid excessive intake of oil, salt and sugar.
Schools should explicitly communicate with lunch suppliers its commitment and requirements - all lunch choices must comply with the above mentioned nutritional recommendations, incorporate such requirements in the contract, and during the contract period, monitor the performance accordingly.
The above items are basic nutritional requirements for lunch. Schools may adjust their pace in promoting healthy eating according to individual circumstance, with a view to meeting all recommendations in the “Nutritional Guidelines on School Lunch for Primary School Students”.
If the schools would like to run tuckshops, participating schools should also openly declare that they will not provide snacks, including drinks, which are classified as “Snacks to Choose Less” in the “Nutritional Guidelines on Snacks for Primary School Students”.
Schools should explicitly communicate with tuckshop operators its commitment and requirements - incorporate such requirements in the contract, and during the contract period, monitor the performance accordingly.
Apart from following the above guideline, schools are strongly advised to sign up the EatSmart School Accreditation Scheme, since implementing green lunch has the advantage of markedly improving the nutritional value of lunch served.
Guidelines on flu prevention
To address the concern of some schools that the risk of spreading of flu may increase while large groups of students are gathered together for lunch, the Department of Health has put together the following guidelines:
Students who have respiratory illness should avoid going to school, or return home for rest and medical consultation if symptoms develop while at school.
Ensure adequate ventilation and avoid overcrowded situations when planning mass activities in or outside school. Keep windows wide open and turn on exhaust fans. Make sure air conditioning systems allow an adequate amount of air exchange, have air filters cleaned and are well-maintained.
Disinfect the dining area including classrooms, kitchen and canteen with 1 in 99 diluted household bleach (one part of 5.25% hypochlorite solution in 99 parts of water), wait until dry and then rinse with water. Use 70% alcohol for metallic surfaces.
Encourage staff and students to wash hands with liquid soap or cleanse with alcohol handrub prior to and after serving food. Advise against touching eyes, nose or mouth with hands, and sharing of towels, lunch boxes, drinks and feeding utensils.
As part of student mobilization for lunch consumption serviced by ‘on-site meal portioning’ in the school canteen/classroom, schools may stagger student movement to avoid overcrowding. Communal activities are good opportunities for student education and development in personal hygiene, food manners and civic-mindedness.
Guidelines on fire safety
According to the prevailing practice of ‘on-site meal portioning’, rice and vegetables are cooked on site with electrical stoves. The Fire Services Department has put together the following guidelines in this connection:
The food preparation area should be kept out of bounds to the students. Suitable signs to this effect should be affixed at conspicuous locations.
The associated additional accommodation to be provided shall not encroach on the emergency vehicular access and/or cause obstruction to fire service installations, fire hydrant and its ground valve and their notice/location plate, where provided.
A safety distance of at least 6m should be maintained between the food preparation area and any dangerous goods store.
An evacuation plan in the event of fire affecting the catering area should be drawn up and regular fire drills should be carried out.
Guidelines on water saving and wastewater reduction
Scrape food waste and oil and grease from dirty serving dishes and cooking utensils into a garbage bin before washing.
Place strainer or filter in the inlet of the floor drain to prevent it from clogging by grease or other waste. Clean the strainer or replace the filter regularly.
Remove greasy waste from grease trap regularly.
Do not use excessive quantities of detergent.
Recycle the wastewater as far as possible. For example, use the wastewater generated from washing vegetables for floor washing.