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Food: Procurement

House of Lords written question – answered on 27th June 2012.

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Photo of Lord Harrison Lord Harrison Chair, EU Sub Committee A - Economic and Financial Affairs

To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress they are making on delivering sustainable food procurement in the public sector.

Photo of Lord Taylor of Holbeach Lord Taylor of Holbeach The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The Government introduced a government buying standard (GBS) for food and catering services on 16 June 2011, which came into force in September 2011. More sustainable food sourcing, healthier food choices, and resource efficiency and waste reduction in catering operations are all covered in this sustainable procurement standard.

This standard is a credible and workable example of sustainable catering criteria that can deliver what many people look for from their public bodies. To help those that want to apply the standard, we have developed a sustainable food procurement training module aimed at procurers in local authorities and other public bodies.

However, rather than requiring every school, hospital and care home to provide food that meets this standard, we want to give them the discretion to innovate and adapt the suggested standard to their own circumstances. Each of these organisations will have a different set of requirements and the people concerned with them (parents, patients, governors) will have different priorities, making them best placed to decide how to achieve the objectives we are aiming for.

Defra's own catering provision is fully compliant with GBS and we have encouraged all departments to report their own performance as part of their greening government commitments.

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