Would Government ever buy by the punnet?
What if... Government bought green?
14th July, 2009
Ask those involved in public food procurement if they would like to see fresh, local ingredients on menus and they will say yes. Then they will list all the reasons why it wouldn't work. Not so, argues Maria Cross - and here's how
Contrary to what many believe, food procurers are not obliged to favour the cheapest bidder
Over 1 billion meals are served in institutions and government departments in England and Wales each year, at a cost of around £2 billion. It is easy to malign caterers for the quality of those meals, but easier still to forget that feeding people in institutions is a complex logistical exercise in which those responsible have to cater for large numbers of people within strict budgetary controls. Meals must be served at pre-determined times and maintained at certain temperatures for extended periods, all the while meeting health and safety standards. The more criteria that must be met, the greater the risk of failing to meet them. Now caterers are expected to embrace another dimension on the criteria spectrum: sustainable procurement.
The Government says that the procurement of local, sustainably produced food is now a priority and in 2003 launched the Public Sector Food Procurement Initiative (PSFPI), to help deliver 'a world-class sustainable farming and food sector that contributes to a better environment and healthier and prosperous communities'. To achieve this aim, Defra provides, on its website, guidance documents for everyone involved in the food supply chain, from farm to fork. The government also...
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