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Public Sector Catering Alliance responds to report on antibiotics in food chain

13th Oct 2023 - 09:14
The Public Sector Catering Alliance (PSCA), the group set up to share best practice among national catering membership organisations, has issued a response to a report that has called for ‘robust Government standards on public procurement to ensure higher antibiotic standards for school and hospital food suppliers’.

Matthew White, chair of the PSC Alliance, said it was important to note that the report, by the from the Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics, focused on ten contract caterers that deliver a only proportion of the public sector food served daily in the UK.

The report also claimed to have found ‘inadequate Government buying standards for food and catering as well as weak or non-existent antibiotic policies from ten UK contract caterers’. 

Matt White said: “While we welcome this report and will collectively investigate its findings, I would add that just because some caterers don’t currently have a statement about antibiotics entering the human food chain, it doesn’t mean they aren’t undertaking action to address the issue.

“As public sector caterers we already have great relationships with our suppliers, the National Farmers Union (NFU), Love British Food and with the Soil Association’s Food for Life Served Here programme that underpins the commitment of many caterers to sustainable, ethical, safe and nutritious food for all.

“Ultimately this comes down to funding – and this is an opportunity for our governments to invest in public food to ensure it is safe and prevents any future harm to our customers or indeed the planet.

“Yes, caterers can absolutely change the food system and address these concerns, but at current funding levels and with continued high food cost inflation and pressure on staffing budgets and utilities costs, we need to be well-funded to create the change we would all like to see.”

He added: “Public sector caterers have a critical role to play in improving animal welfare, and addressing health inequalities, but we also deliver a lot more to the communities we serve, including tackling poverty, malnutrition, improving attainment, supporting community wealth building, taking positive climate action, addressing biodiversity loss, and continuously adapting the products and services we deliver to protect the people we serve.

“As an alliance that represents caterers working across schools, hospitals, care homes, universities, prisons and the military we will be discussing this report in detail at our next meeting in December.”

Written by
Edward Waddell