While the topic of state support for food producers for children's groups is being discussed at the federal level, battles are taking place in the regions over the holding of tenders, fraudulent fundraising schemes are being organized, and sometimes even food poisoning occurs. Officials develop nutritional standards, but these are often not at all what children actually like and eat.
Decide on a healthy diet
The State Duma is now paying active attention to manufacturers of baby food products. Gennady Onishchenko, in the past the chief sanitary doctor, and now the first deputy head of the State Duma committee on education and science, in every possible way emphasizes that state support is needed in relation to Russian food producers for children.
“This is already written in the law, give us your suggestions. So far I have only heard them from Bashkortostan. In fact, we do not see any work on this yet,”Onishchenko addressed the participants in the meeting of the profile working group.
He also added that now a federal program is simply needed to develop the production of semi-finished products, fruits, fortified foods for children's nutrition. At the same time, all the products that go to organized children's collectives must have their own requirements, "higher than even they go in the general turnover," the deputy stressed.
The country is fighting for the quality of products for school and kindergarten canteens
According to economists' estimates, the annual turnover of products in organized children's groups already amounts to 600 billion rubles. Federal Law 47-FZ spelled out what a healthy diet is, but neither science nor Rospotrebnadzor has yet answered this provision. Onishchenko suggested that the Institute of Industry Nutrition be involved in this work.
According to experts from the Institute of Industry Nutrition, “today it is necessary to change the very approach to the implementation of the requirements of 47-FZ. So far, the main attention has been paid, first of all, to the most important current task of introducing free hot meals in primary schools, as well as the adoption, according to the schedule of the government of the Russian Federation, of regulations directly established in the law, including the development by Rospotrebnadzor of requirements for catering, food quality, and also the norms of provision for children's organized groups. The deadlines set in the schedule are not being met, and this is an alarming situation, since the children are already being fed. But in a broader sense, 47-FZ is not only a list of specific acts that need to be adopted. These are, first of all, new requirements for the healthy nutrition of children established for the first time in federal law and the main mechanisms for achieving them. It is in the implementation of these requirements that the main tasks are."
In St. Petersburg this fall, as in some other cities of Russia, children were poisoned after visiting the school cafeteria. Fortunately, this does not carry a mass character, but it makes you wary, especially when it comes to a specific food supplier.
So, in early October, at school 15 of the Vasileostrovsky district, children developed all the symptoms of poisoning, including vomiting and indigestion.
Supplier - Floridan Firm. Parents say that this problem has not existed for the first year, they have to give food with them so that only the children do not eat in the cafeteria. However, wanting to smooth the situation, the school director said that it was too early to talk about poisoning - until the diagnoses were confirmed. The company in question has already been involved in a cartel conspiracy case in the baby food market.
According to media reports, food poisoning of this kind was recently also recorded in schools in Yevpatoria and in Altai. Recently, the authorities of the northern capital announced that a month of quality control of hot meals will be held in St. Petersburg schools (from November 5 to December 5). It is reported that parents will be involved in the checks. In addition, on behalf of Vice Governor Nikolai Bondarenko, specialists will develop a single standard for baby food in schools and kindergartens.
When bargaining is appropriate
Orenburg is also concerned with the organization of school meals, but in a different vein. The usual importance of the topic is fueled by the fact that soon - in December 2020 - the terms of contracts for most of the schools with food factories are coming to an end, and it is impossible to renegotiate them on the same terms.
Under the new conditions, which have already caused public outrage, schools and kindergartens are offered to hold joint tenders, including several institutions in one lot. A round table was even recently held on this topic.
As Svetlana Zolotareva, Deputy Head of Orenburg for Financial Issues, explained, “the third party is excluded from the contract - the parent. The previous mechanism is not possible under the current legislation."
As a result, schools have to find contractors themselves - either on their own or by joining a common lot. The administration assures that "no one will allow changes for the worse."
Nevertheless, on October 27, a warning was sent to the head of Orenburg, Vladimir Ilinykh, by the Federal Antimonopoly Service of Russia in the Orenburg Region about the inadmissibility of taking actions aimed at consolidating purchases, as well as including catering services with various types of financing in one lot. Otherwise, it may lead to restriction of access to trading.
Dmitry Boldyrev, a lawyer and coordinator of the Bureau of Investigation project, spoke in the same vein. Such measures, as the expert notes, deprive small business representatives of the opportunity to participate in this process. At the same time, half of the allocated funds will go not to children, but to businesses.
"The proposed scheme of joint bidding is not just archaic and ineffective, but flawed in its approaches and organization, since the child is not a goal for her, but remains only a means," Boldyrev noted.
Recently, Vladimir Ilinykh commented on the situation with school meals for the first time.
“The city administration received an appeal from labor collectives of three Orenburg school food factories. We hear people, we hear business and do our best to find a compromise between the requirements of the law and the protection of the interests of entrepreneurs. We continue to study the smallest nuances of the situation - with experts, lawyers, school principals, representatives of the KSP and the parent community,”he said.
The mayor assured that in this situation, the interests of children are most important. In his words, the administration is in favor of "the most competitive and transparent tender procedures", since "they are obliged to provide them with adequate nutrition and not allow failures, and we guarantee that we will fulfill this task."
And what about the compote?
But a colleague of Vladimir Ilinykh in the westernmost Russian city, the interim mayor of Kaliningrad, Elena Dyatlova, expressed dissatisfaction with the fact that, instead of real information, they "tried to present her with a postcard picture."
According to Dyatlova, in the process of getting to know educational institutions in a new capacity, she wanted to know how school meals are organized and how the safety of children is actually ensured. Liver cutlets with buckwheat are not the best breakfast option for a first grader, she noted, adding that the menu should include both milk porridge and casseroles.
Benefit in kind
According to the observations of the inspectors, not all children eat up such breakfasts. To revise the menu, the Acting Mayor is going to contact Rospotrebnadzor and the regional Ministry of Education.
Interestingly, food operators are also unhappy with the children's breakfast menu. But you cannot offer other dishes - everything is approved at the regional level.
According to the approved standard, in the morning the plates must contain: hot, drink, fruits or vegetables. In the second shift - the first and second, a drink and snacks (salad or fresh fruits, berries).
For reference: as it was reported this spring, 206 catering units operate in 210 educational schools in Kaliningrad, of which 168 work on raw materials, 22 on semi-finished products, and in 16 schools the distribution of ready-made food in canteens is organized.
However, as noted by experts, there were facts of a decrease in the range and variety of food for children.
Budget in spite of
Meanwhile, in the Stavropol Territory, at the beginning of the year, a single menu was developed for organizing hot meals for primary school students. It, however, "will be of a recommendatory nature," said Marina Sorokina, deputy head of the department of sanitary supervision for hygiene of children and adolescents of the regional department of Rospotrebnadzor.
But one thing is standards and quality, another is payment, which, according to the project, is not supposed at all for junior schoolchildren. So, in one of the schools in the city of Stavropol, it turned out that the mother of one of the first graders collects the payment for food. The rest of the parents were confronted with the fact that in the group of the messenger, the "representative of the initiative group" weekly sends a food accounting sheet and accepts payments to a personal bank card.
The woman appealed to the prosecutor's office with a demand to conduct a check. On the school's website, documents indicate that the contract for the provision of meals for the school was concluded with the individual entrepreneur Nadezhda Zvyagina, and payment is accepted through “responsible representatives of the customer”.
At the same time, at the very beginning of the school year, it was reported that 100% of school catering units in the Stavropol Territory are ready to provide children with hot meals. Primary school students (more than 132 thousand people) are planned to be fed free of charge. Almost 524 million rubles were allocated from the federal budget to organize this process, another 56 million will go from the regional budget.
In total, it is planned to spend 148 billion rubles from the federal budget for breakfasts and lunches for junior schoolchildren until 2023. What exactly is financed from the budget is determined at the regional level. For example, in St. Petersburg it is breakfast.
However, since in many schools children up to the fourth grade already ate free of charge, nothing really changed for their families. The only difference is what exactly is served - breakfast in the form of a bun with tea, casseroles or a full lunch. And also how edible it all is and how much the children themselves like it. But these are questions of a completely different order.