House of Commons Commission
Mark Oaten (Winchester, Liberal Democrat)
To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission what proportion of chicken served on the House of Commons estate was free range in the most recent period for which figures are available.
Nick Harvey (Shadow Secretary of State for Defence, Defence; North Devon, Liberal Democrat)
During calendar year 2007, £75,300 was spent on chicken meat (fresh); £7,400 was spent on free-range chicken (that is, just under 10 per cent. of expenditure on chicken). As many products are purchased as individual items, not by weight, the proportion by weight is estimated at 7 per cent. of the total.
Most of the free range products purchased were chicken breasts. Certain chicken products are not readily available as free range, for example boiling fowl, chicken wings and halal—these amounted to 6 per cent. of expenditure.
It is the House of Commons catering service's policy to buy chicken from two reliable suppliers with very high standards of food safety. All fresh poultry products purchased, including chicken, are fully traceable to the farms of origin.