School and Residential Care Catering Group awarded prestigious Silver Food for Life Catering Mark

Monday, July 6, 2015

Lancashire County Council's School and Residential Care Catering group has been awarded the Soil Association's prestigious Silver Food for Life Catering Mark, in recognition of the fresh and healthy meals it serves in schools and care homes.

The award is a commendation for the 70,000 meals served every day in 485 primary and secondary schools, and in 23 care homes across the county for pupils, students and adults.

The Food for Life Catering Mark brings together all of the issues people care about – health, climate change and animal welfare. It recognises food providers who prepare meals using fresh, seasonal ingredients which are free from controversial e-numbers. The Mark provides reassurance that the food served meets high standards of traceability, freshness and source.

County Councillor Matthew Tomlinson, Lancashire County Council's cabinet member for children, young people and schools, said: "We are absolutely delighted to have achieved the Silver Food for Life Catering Mark for our commitment to serving fresh and healthy meals made with local and organic ingredients.

"We champion local food and suppliers including yoghurts from Longridge, free range eggs from Leyland and beef, poultry and seasonal fresh vegetables from across Lancashire. I know that we are particularly proud of the relationship we have with our suppliers.

"We use organic foodstuffs and we are currently using organic rice, pasta, flour and milk. We change what we offer on the menu so it is always seasonal regarding the ingredients we use.

"Our customers are diverse, so we make sure that our menus provide for all dietary and cultural needs.

"We hope our meals are enjoyed all the more knowing that we are doing our best to source ethical and environmentally friendly food, championing local producers and making it easy to eat healthily. All of this also means that we are helping to reduce food miles and our environmental footprint.

"We won't rest on our laurels though. We have a long-term commitment to continue to improve the quality of ingredients we use and where we source them from and hopefully this will help us to achieve the Gold standard soon."

Rob Sexton, Chief Executive of Soil Association Certification, said: "We’re pleased to see Lancashire's School and Residential Care Catering Group achieving the Silver Catering Mark and gaining recognition for serving great fresh meals made with seasonal, local and organic ingredients.

"Serving menus to Silver Catering Mark Standards supports local businesses and reassures customers that all meals are free from GM ingredients.”

The Catering Mark is open to all food providers. The Bronze, Silver and Gold tiers recognise caterers who serve more locally produced, healthy and organic food.

The Silver Catering Mark, awarded to Lancashire County Council's School and Residential Care Catering Group, means that organic ingredients are used as well as a large selection of UK and local produce.

Also, in order to achieve this commendation, in Lancashire:

• Over eighty per cent of meals are freshly prepared from unprocessed ingredients and meals contain no undesirable food additives or Trans fats.
• Healthier menus are offered.
• All fresh and cooked meat and poultry products satisfy UK farm assurance standards.
• No genetically modified ingredients are used and neither is any fish served from the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) 'fish to avoid' list.
• Importantly, training has been provided for all catering staff.

The Food for Life Catering Mark originated as part of the successful Food for Life Partnership, which is working with over 4,500 schools across the country to put fresh, healthy dinners on the school menu and food education in the timetable.

The School Food Plan, launched in July 2013, sets out the step changes needed to improve food provision to millions of children in England. The plan references the Food for Life Partnership throughout, and highlights the Food for Life Catering Mark as the procurement standard for which caterers should be aiming.


Tagged as: Children, Education and Families

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