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CARAMBOLA: FOR A CHILD CENTRED APPROACH

As Ireland’s leading school meals provider, our objectives and processes of continuous improvement, are there to ensure;

• the children in your care get the tastiest and healthiest food, and that
• we protect all stakeholders by having the most effective health and safety procedures.

We achieve this because we adopt a child-centred approach to all our work.

You do not need to employ staff or have kitchen facilities. Carambola deal with everything from our own custom built, state of the art facility and deliver daily for your convenience.

We have prepared this guide for the benefit of the Boards of Management, Principals, Parents and other interested stakeholders in client schools.

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WHAT IS THE SCHOOL MEALS PROGRAM?

The School Meals Programme (SMP) provides healthy nutritious breakfast and lunch to children in participating schools. It is managed and funded by the Department of Social Protection.

​The implementation of the SMP is the responsibility of the Board of Management of each school. This will include ensuring that; a child-centred approach is adopted, that the children get the best possible food and ensuring adherence to best practice in health and safety etc.

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HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

The SMP is funded entirely by the Department of Social Protection and there is no cost to the school or the children / parents / guardians. Generally the schools are provided with 60c per day to provide a breakfast / snack and €1.40 per day to provide a lunch, to each of the children in the school.

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WHAT KIND OF FOOD IS PROVIDED?

The Department of Social Protection Guidelines provide the following as examples of the food to be provided:

Lunch
Filled Sandwich / Roll or Soup & Roll or Salad Plate, plus two other items (e.g. Milk, Fruit, Yogurt).

www.carambola.ie/lunch



Breakfast / Snack
Cereal, Toast, Scone, Fruit, Yogurt, Milk (two items must be provided).

www.carambola.ie/lbreakfast

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HOW IS THE FOOD SERVED?

There are no specific Department guidelines in this regard. However, in Carambola client schools every day each child receives a lunch bag that will include their breakfast/ snack and lunch. Every lunch bag has a label that displays the child’s name, school’s name, class name, the contents of the bag and nutritional information, such as calorie count. Bulk delivery is also available depending on the school requirements.

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HOW DO WE ENSURE HEALTHY AND NUTRITIOUS FOOD?

We are very conscious of the obligation to provide children with healthy and nutritious food. We were the first Irish Company to introduce calorie counting (calories are calculated individually per lunch and printed on the lunch bag label).

​We continuously challenge our menu items to ensure they are the healthiest and most nutritious for the children.

Items that will not be supplied by Carambola include Crisps, Fizzy Drinks, Flavoured Sweets or Pizza.

​Our in-house nutritional advisor Rachel Mescall-Fitzpatrick has the final say on all items included on our menu, and her decision rests on asking herself “would I feed this to my own child?” If the answer is yes, then it’s included. If the answer is no, it will never be included.

​In addition, we are very particular about our own suppliers and only deal with the most reputable of companies.

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CAN CHILDREN HAVE SOMETHING DIFFERENT EVERY DAY?​

There are no specific Department guidelines in this regard. However, in Carambola client schools the answer is YES. We encourage children to change their selection to enable them sample different tastes and textures. Of course, if a child is happy with their initial selection then we will continue to supply that.

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HOW DO WE MANAGE FOOD SAFETY RISKS?

We hire the best people and employ the best systems, so you don’t have to worry. We manage these risks for you.

​​In December 2015 and 2016, we were awarded a Distinction in Food Safety Assurance by the Food Safety Professionals Association of Ireland (FSPA), in conjunction with the Food Safety Authority of Ireland.

​The FSPA Food Safety Assurance Award certification demonstrates that standards are in place for food safety & hygiene, indicating HACCP compliance and thereby giving rise to confidence in safeguarding public health. We are subject to annual external audit for verification purposes.

​In addition to this award, we have been an EIQA member since 2013. We have been commended by the HSE on our levels of cleanliness, and we always aim to operate above legislative requirements. We have full, 100% traceability on our food from suppliers to each individual child. Our HACCP system is reviewed by both the HSE and our external Food Safety Consultants, Cater Care Ltd. Our in-house Food Safety Systems are managed by our Food Safety Manager who has been trained to distinction at QQI Level 6 Management of Food Safety Systems.

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HOW DO CHILDREN CHOOSE THEIR MENU OPTIONS?

This can be done manually on a paper menu with ‘tick a box’ options, we also have an online facility and you can always call us on 1850 812 300 and we’ll take care of it for you!

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HOW DO WE MANAGE CONTACT WITH SCHOOLS?

Communication is key. As part of the contract management, a pre-agreed communications channel with each school will be used. This may be a school visit, phone call, email or a combination of these.

​A Service Level Agreement (SLA) is agreed with each school, with a process in place to ensure all requests and queries are dealt with. Each school will have a single point of contact which is usually a local customer care manager.