More Red Tractor meat needed in schools

Meat leaders have welcomed calls for more Red Tractor-assured produce to be served in schools as a step in the right direction.

Eblex and Bpex said they had been working with local authorities on pushing Red Tractor meat for many years, and added that the call from the Countryside Alliance Foundation (CAF) would help. The CAF said many councils did not know where food given to pupils came from.

Foodservice 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 CAF said that Freedom of Information requests (FOI) to 172 local education authorities in the UK had found that just 60 (35%) knew the country of origin of the food they sourced to serve in schools. Of those that did record where food is sourced from, in 2009/10 an average of 62% of it was British, the FOI requests showed.

A separate survey of 2,799 adults, commissioned by the CAF, found that 61% of those questioned believed that schools should be made to buy British meat products, even if it cost more money.

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

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