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Sustainable food use in public sector
Article Type: Food facts From: Nutrition & Food Science, Volume 41, Issue 4
Public sector bosses across Scotland have been encouraged to look closely at their food and drink buying policies in a new guide which seeks to “scotch the myths” about European procurement rules. Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead today told around 150 leaders in public sector food procurement that, contrary to many views, EU rules actually support a sustainable approach to the buying of food and drink by councils, hospitals, colleges and prisons. Public Sector food and drink contracts in Scotland are already worth at least £130 million a year and Mr Lochhead told a conference in Glasgow that the “Catering for Change” guidance set out in clear terms that the public sector can:
Take account of sustainability factors in their contract decision making.
Specify that they want to be provided with fresh, in season produce, for example, and can even, in some circumstances, ask for Scotch beef, lamb or smoked salmon.
Structure contracts in a way that allows small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to compete.
His message to delegates was not only can they do this but that they should, in order to bring economic, environmental and social benefits, help raise food quality standards and bring new opportunities to Scotland’s smaller producers.
The “Catering for Change” guidance shows that public sector organisations can take account of sustainability; can specify fresh, in-season produce; and can structure contracts to increase interest from SME’s.