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Published on : Thursday, October 20, 2016
The Natural History Museum scored one star out of five – in joint last place with Brighton Pier – for the quality of its children’s lunches, with parents responding to The Soil Association’s annual Out to Lunch survey complaining that the museum’s meals failed to include fresh vegetables, and that it was difficult to find free drinking water at the museum.
London zoo has also been slammed by food campaigners for serving up sugary foods to its visitors.
A lunchbox at London Zoo included up to 36g of sugar – which is 189 per cent of a child’s recommended daily sugar allowance.
The Out to Lunch campaign found three in four children’s lunchboxes offered by major attractions did not include any vegetarian or salad options.
The survey found that children’s meals at the bottom five scoring attractions were, on average, more than £1 more expensive than the lunchboxes at the five top-scoring attractions.
The two top attractions on the league table, the Eden Project and Chester Zoo, both offered healthier choices. Chester Zoo served locally-sourced milk and ethically-raised meat, while meals at the Eden Project were freshly prepared and included locally-sourced meat and vegetables.
Many of the top attractions served burgers flavoured with monosodium glutamate and meals that included E-numbers linked to hyperactivity in children.
The zoo offers a range of ZSL own-brand sweets with fudge, Cola bottles, and brightly coloured lollies positioned at child height for small hands to grab.
Parents sent to other attractions reported that while sugary drinks were readily available at the top tourist destinations, but only a few offered free tap water to children.
When parents at Alton Towers asked for a glass of tap water, they were refused and told to buy a bottle from the restaurant.
At Stonehenge, free drinking water was available for dogs but not families. None of the attractions offered healthy drinks in vending machines as the norm.
The Out to Lunch campaign is organised by the Soil Association, which supports organic food. Its survey of parents found only one in seven thought the food at popular attractions is good enough.
Other attractions were found to be serving chips pre-prepared in Holland, chicken nuggets shipped from Thailand, and potatoes pre-mashed in Belgium.