5th Mar 2009 - 00:00
A total of nine well-deserved caterers have been awarded the Soil Association's Food for Life Catering Mark.
The mark is an accreditation scheme that provides a step-by-step route to sustainable catering. Open to caterers in both the public and private sectors, the mark has three tiers: bronze, silver and gold, with the gold standard requiring the caterer's menu to be 75% freshly prepared, 50% local and 30% organic. Abbeywood Tots day nursery won the gold award along with Celtic Hospitality, East Ayrshire Council and Local Food Links Ltd, followed by Shire Services and Nottinghamshire County Council who picked up silver. And walking away with a bronze accolade were Bath and North East Somerset Council, Devon County Council and Nottingham University Hospitals Trust. During a speech delivered at the Food for Life Partnership Awards Ceremony in December 2008, The Prince of Wales said: "Now we are beginning to make progress with healthy eating in schools, we need to tackle how we feed patients in our hospitals. "As we are what we eat, and we know that the food we eat makes a difference to our health even when we are not ill, it would seem sensible that the food patients are given, helps rather than hinders, the process of recovery. So we need to encourage hospitals to maximise nutritional benefits by sourcing locally, seasonally and, where possible, organically." In the wake of Jamie Oliver's call for us all to choose higher welfare British pork, this new award scheme from the Soil Association - the Food for Life Catering Mark - is helping caterers reassure their customers that the meat they serve exceeds British welfare standards. Explaining the importance of the Mark, Joanna Lewis, policy manager at the Soil Association said: "The Food for Life Catering Mark has been launched in response to public concern about the implications of 'cheap food' for health, animal welfare and the environment. It gives caterers across the public and private sectors a way of proving their commitment to the freshly prepared, ethically sourced food that customers are asking for.