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Meat Bodies Push for Assured Products in Schools

by 5m Editor
17 November 2011, at 5:53am

UK - The call for more Red Tractor assured produce to be served in schools is a step in the right direction, say EBLEX and BPEX.

The two red meat bodies have been working for many years with local authorities up and down the land promoting Red Tractor beef, lamb and pork. The call came from Countryside Alliance Foundation, which said many councils did not know where food given to pupils came from.

Food-service sector manager for BPEX, Tony Goodger, said: "We have been working for many years with the Local Authority Caterers Association (LACA) promoting Red Tractor Assured pork, beef and lamb to the school meals market.

"This has included devising and promoting nutritionally balanced recipes often incorporating at least one portion of vegetables within the body of the dish.

"We also meet and support many of the School Food Trust's initiatives as well as assist manufacturers of assured red meats to produce foods that are low in fat and salt and ideal for school menus.

"A great example of this work is the low-salt, reduced-fat sausage, which is sold in more than 12,000 UK schools every week of the academic year."

The foundation said that Freedom of Information requests (FOI) to 172 local education authorities in the UK had found that just 60 (35 per cent) know the country of origin of the food they source to serve in schools.

Of those that do record where food is sourced from, in 2009/10 an average of 62 per cent of it was British, the FOI requests show.

A separate survey of 2,799 adults, commissioned by the foundation, found that 61 per cent of those questioned believe that schools should be made to buy British meat products, even if it costs more money.

The foundation said that as well as benefiting pupils, buying British food would help to support British farmers and put public money back into the local economy.