COUNCILLORS may banish junk food from the school dinner menu for thousands of pupils.

Durham County Council's cabinet will today be recommended to adopt a range of measures to make meals more healthy.

Among them is the dropping of processed shaped products such as Turkey Twizzlers, which came to prominence in television chef Jamie Oliver's recent campaign for better nutrition.

The proposals were drawn up by a working group that carried out a six-month review that was launched before the Mr Oliver's School Dinners programme turned the quality of school dinners into a political issue.

Private contractor Scolarest, which provides meals to most schools in the county, stopped serving Turkey Twizzlers after the Easter break in the wake of widespread criticism following Mr Oliver's series.

The council is considering extending the company's £7m contract, which is due to run out in August.

However, its working group says that more should be done to encourage youngsters to choose healthier foods and that the pupils should have a greater say in decisions about their school meals.

Its report to the cabinet says: "Nutritional content should be improved and shaped products such as Turkey Twizzlers and nuggets should not be served."

Group members also want school governors to have a more prominent role in what children eat.

The report says: "The announcement by Education Secretary Ruth Kelly of a £280m package to transform the quality of school meals clearly is welcome news. The detailed impact on County Durham will need to be clarified.''

A council spokesman said: "We were well ahead of the game in seeking to change the nutritional content of school meals.''