“It feels like a stab in the back,” Annica Eriksson, the cook at Vikaskolan in Falun, told The Local.
Eriksson sparked reactions around the world when it emerged that she had been instructed to stop baking fresh bread and offering students a fresh vegetable buffet.
According to Eriksson, local authorities in Falun told her her food was “too good” and that it was “unfair” to students at other schools, arguing that her menu failed to adhere to a recently introduced nutrition programme.
The ensuing wave of negative publicity, including protests from students and teachers, prompted municipality officials to call a meeting with Eriksson to discuss the matter.
At the meeting, held Monday afternoon, Eriksson was told by the nutrition project leader Katarina Lindberg that local authorities would not stand in the way of her aspirations to offer pupils home-made bread and fresh vegetables.
“Annica misunderstood us, of course she can bake her own bread,” Lindberg told The Local.
She pointed to a statement released by the municipality on Monday which also attributed the episode to “miscommunication”.
“What we’ve said that the fruits and vegetables should be chosen according to season; it’s a matter of taking environment and climate considerations into account,” Lindberg is quoted as saying in the statement.
While school cook Eriksson was happy to learn she can continue to add her own touch to the food served at Vikaskolan, she expressed her frustration at the municipality’s attempt to describe the matter as a misunderstanding.
“At a meeting on September 24th I was told that I had to cook like the rest of Falun’s schools,” Eriksson told The Local.
“That’s what I did and then parents complained and called the press.”
According to Eriksson, other officials at the meeting explained that she needed to follow the guidelines of a 2011 nutrition project aimed at bringing up the level of school cooking within all schools of Falun.
She left the meeting confused as to why Falun municipality officials deemed her methods as unsatisfactory with respect to the nutrition programme.
Eriksson now believes Lindberg and others local officials in Falun felt compelled to act after being backed into a corner by a storm of negative publicity.
“Now they are saying they never told me to bring down the level of cooking and that it’s my mistake,” she said.
While Lindberg acknowledged that her colleagues were aware of the negative publicity, she emphasized that the interests of the children were what really mattered.
“We are all affected by the events and the media attention this received,” Lindberg said.
“This is about children’s food, that is our future.”
Sanne Schim van der Loeff