28/09/2012 14:28 BST

Jamie Oliver Blasts Michael Gove Over School Meals At Academies

Michael Gove has been blasted by Jamie Oliver for presiding over some of the "worst" school meals during his time as Education Secretary.

Mr Oliver, who has campaigned to improve school foods for several years, condemned the government for taking away nutritional standards in academies and pledged to fight to see them reinstated.

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Gove has been roasted over his failure to introduce standards for school food in academies

The chef has been credited with helping improve nutrition by taking out junk food and infamously replacing turkey twizzlers with healthier options in his TV show Jamie's School Dinners.

Under Mr Gove's plans, academies - a status now available to all schools which apply for it - can opt out of nationally mandated nutritional standards.

But speaking on the Radio Two Breakfast Show, Mr Oliver said: "What we have had for the last four years is some remarkable change. Lunch cooks around the country have been doing some wonderful things, and they still are.

"But it's about feeding every British kid a great meal, 190 days a year, from the age of four to 18.

"I have to say this government, and I'm not getting political, as far as school food is concerned I think is the worst one yet.

"Mr Gove has taken away the nutritional standards, which is something I'm still battling on about. I think it's an abuse of policy you can take away standards from a child's food when mums and dads are busy around the country.

"You've got standards for the water in the tap, standards for drivers carrying the kids on the bus, standards for the nurses, standards for the teachers - but the food doesn't matter. It's a shame."

A review of school food was launched by the Department for Education in July, headed by Henry Dimbleby and John Vincent, co-founders of the Leon restaurant chain. The goal is to establish an action plan for improved food in all schools.

Challenged in the Commons in June about the school dinner rules in academies, Mr Gove said: "The facts show that there has been no deterioration in the quality of food offered at academies and it is not the case that academies are offering worse food at lunchtime than at other schools."

Mr Gove pledged not to "U-turn but (build) upon the platform that Jamie Oliver has created".