In the news: Rachael Foulds

July 30, 2004

'At school, we were the kids with no fillings in our teeth and the wholemeal tuna sandwiches for lunch'

At school, Rachael Foulds was the girl with the healthy wholemeal sandwiches and an apple in her lunchbox. Twenty years later, she has hit the headlines by criticising the nutritional value of food served to children in restaurants and cafes.

Ms Foulds' research this week highlighted nutritional deficits in children's food served by restaurant chains such as Harvester, Garfunkel's and Beefeater as well as in-store cafes in Tesco, Ikea and John Lewis and at attractions such as the Science Museum and London Zoo.

The media, obsessed with the eating habits of an increasingly overweight UK population, seized on Ms Foulds' research, which was the product of an MSc thesis.

The MSc was something of a labour of love for Ms Foulds. She said: "It is down to my mother really. At school, we were the kids with no fillings in our teeth and the wholemeal tuna sandwiches and an apple for lunch. Now my boyfriend hears all about my plans to make my children little veggie burgers and all the other wonderful things I am going to make them."

Ms Foulds, 28, did her first degree in hotel management and worked in the trade for a while. But she left to go travelling and returned to her home city of London determined to become a nutritionist.

"I needed qualifications, but I could not afford to study for another first degree in nutrition. So I applied to London Metropolitan University to do an MSc," she said.

"I was allowed to study for an MSc, but I first had to pass an undergraduate module in biochemistry and nutritional physiology. It sounded daunting, but it was heaven to be in that academic environment and I did really well."

Ms Foulds, who is now looking for work, has not ruled out a PhD and a career in academe. She plans to publish her MSc research in full in a peer-reviewed journal. An extended summary of the research was published this week by The Food Commission.

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