Genuine home-cookers need not fear

It is still just about possible to parody our nanny state. Someone sent me this spoof by email. It appeared in a message forum recently. I thought it was quite good.

"Government To Introduce Improved Monitoring Of Home Cooking"

An Independent Review Of Home Cooking was commissioned by the government after concerns were expressed that home cooking could be used as a cover for child neglect or even abuse. Child safeguarding agencies have long held concerns about children who are eating at home instead of the free Government Feeding Stations located in every local community. A spokesman said, 'We believe that children who are fed at home are at increased risk of malnutrition and obesity. We must protect them from this potential abuse by ensuring that home cooking is properly monitored and controlled. If this helps just one child to avoid obesity, for example, we think the increased monitoring will be worth it. Genuine home-feeders should not be alarmed.'

Many home-feeders themselves have apparently been calling for compulsory registration and regular monitoring. Registration is the norm in many countries including the USA, although in Germany, home-cooking has been against the law since the 1930's.

Local Authorities are totally opposed to home cooking because, 'Parents simply do not have the necessary qualifications to be able to provide all the nutrients a growing child needs. It is absurd to think that a home kitchen could provide a child's optimum nutrition. Some parents have Food Technology GCSE's but this is totally inadequate when compared to the nutritional expertise of our chefs at the Government Feeding Stations.'

Under new proposals set out in the Review, parents will have to register as home-feeders and meet with Local Authority representatives to explain their nutritional plan for the following year. If it is not up to basic minimum standards then registration will be denied. Home-feeders' homes will also be inspected regularly. LA's will have the right (surprisingly, not present under current law) to inspect home 'kitchens' and examine the contents of their cupboards and refrigerators. LA inspectors will also have the right to question the child alone about their eating practices, if they suspect low quality home cooking.

LA's already have a duty to ensure that children are healthy, but up to now they have had no way of satisfying themselves that home feeders are not abusing their children. 'If you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to fear from these new regulations,' says a DCSF spokesman. The new Bill on Safeguarding Children will be introduced in the autumn.

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