Education | Feb 22

Debate Over Allowing Furikake in School Lunches

HYOGO, Feb 22 (News On Japan) - A controversy has arisen over the practice of bringing furikake (a Japanese rice seasoning) to school lunches at a middle school in Hyogo Prefecture.

Many students leave rice uneaten... A request to "bring furikake" emerges

During lunchtime, students are seen sprinkling furikake on their white rice.

At a middle school in Kawanishi City, Hyogo Prefecture, bringing furikake for school lunches has been allowed since the second term of last year.

Kawanishi City stated, "We started this practice in response to requests from students who wanted to bring furikake to their school lunches."

Since September of the year before last, when school lunches started in middle schools in Kawanishi City, many students have been leaving their rice uneaten.

As a result, the city solicited opinions from students on how to improve the situation, and the request to "bring furikake" emerged. The city agreed to allow it, with conditions such as limiting it to one individually packaged serving and prohibiting exchanges between students.

Some city council members question the decision: "Isn't this too hasty?"

However, some city council members have raised questions.

Kawanishi City Council Member Michi Kuroda said, "School lunches are managed with a thorough nutritional balance and hygiene, and precautions are taken to prevent accidents like food poisoning. The fact that food from home can be brought in so smoothly to this environment is a crisis and a threat to me."

The Director of Education Promotion in Kawanishi City responded, "We started this after thoroughly discussing safety and hygiene internally."

Kuroda further questioned, "But is furikake really the solution to reducing food waste?"

Additionally, the council member pointed out issues beyond nutrition and hygiene.

Kuroda argued, "Eliminating white rice = commercial furikake seems too hasty. If we're really considering SDGs, should we be increasing the waste from furikake packets?"

40% of students who bring furikake say "they leave less rice uneaten"

People in the city commented on the practice of bringing furikake to school lunches:

A person in their 70s said, "I think it's good. If it helps them eat more rice. When I was hospitalized, I couldn't eat white rice, but I could eat it with furikake."

A person in their 50s mentioned, "If furikake is okay, then what about bringing soy sauce to put on side dishes, or adding salt? It might lead to that."

In a survey, only 7.4% of students said they "bring furikake almost every day," while 77% said they "have never brought it."

However, nearly 40% of students who answered that they "bring furikake" reported that "they leave less rice uneaten."

The city plans to continue monitoring the situation and maintain the practice for the time being.

Source: ANN

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