North Ayrshire Council awarded gold Food for Life Catering Mark

06 March 2013

All of North Ayrshire’s primary schools, together with Arran High School, have been awarded the Soil Association’s prestigious gold Food for Life Catering Mark for their new spring menus, which will be introduced into the schools from 11 March 2013.

The new menus will focus on the use of more Scottish and local suppliers and produce.

The Food for Life Catering Mark provides a guarantee about the provenance and traceability of food and recognises caterers’ commitments to serving meals that are fresh, seasonal and better for animal welfare.

Achieving the gold Food for Life Catering Mark means pupils will be eating meals which are more than 80% freshly prepared from unprocessed ingredients, free from additives, trans fats and GM ingredients. 

Red meat will be sourced from farm assured Scottish cattle and UK produced Red Tractor assured chicken will be used.  Also on the menu will be organic produce, milk obtained from Ayrshire farms, free range eggs and fish that is not on the endangered list. 

North Ayrshire Council is only the second local authority in Scotland to achieve the gold Catering Mark across all primary schools and is the first to achieve the gold award in a secondary school.

Commenting on receiving the accreditation, Cabinet Member for Environment and Infrastructure, Councillor John Ferguson said:

"People are more concerned than ever before about the source and quality of the food they eat. The Food for Life Catering Mark provides them with a guarantee that meals are fresh, seasonal and better for animal welfare. We are delighted to have received the gold certification across all of our primary schools and it is fantastic that we are the first in Scotland to achieve the gold award in one of our high schools, demonstrating our commitment to ensuring that our school children are receiving the best quality food as part of a healthy balanced diet.”

Laura Stewart, Director, Soil Association Scotland said:

 “We are absolutely delighted that North Ayrshire has achieved the gold Food for Life Catering Mark. It is a significant achievement, which demonstrates real dedication, teamwork and leadership in driving excellence in public sector catering.

“The Soil Association’s Food for Life Catering Mark is the UK’s only independent certification scheme setting and auditing standards of traceability, quality and provenance for meals. It is a unique award which addresses many of the issues consumers are most concerned about, especially in these unsettling times when trust in our food system is strongly questioned."

Scottish Government Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said:

“With the issue of food provenance high on the agenda just now, it is particularly timely that North Ayrshire Council should have received the gold Food for Life Catering Mark, in recognition of the traceability and quality of their school meals.

“Scotland is home to some of the world’s finest produce and shorter supply chains can help to ensure that more of these ingredients are consumed in Scotland. This means that people can enjoy quality food as well as the having the assurance that they know where, and how, their food was produced.”

Find out more about the Food for Life Catering Mark in Scotland.

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