HC Deb 20 May 2003 vol 405 c681W
Andrew George

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what proportion of food sourced and served by the catering sections of each Department was(a) produced in Britain, (b) organic and (c) Fair Trade in each year since 1997; and what steps she is taking to increase those levels. [111157]

Mr. Morley

This information is not held centrally.

I understand that caterers contracted to Defra source a high percentage of produce from the UK in summer but in the winter most comes from abroad. Our largest contractor sources 60 per cent. to 70 per cent. of the food from the UK during the summer: For meat all year round the figures are: chick bacon—mostly Dutch; pork—88 per cent. UK; lamb—20 per cent. UK; and beef—70 per cent. UK.

Our published guidance for public sector bodies covers issues such as removing obstacles to tendering by local and UK producers and the purchase of organic and fair trade produce. It can be seen on our web site at: http://www.defra.qov.uk/farm/sustain/procurement/index.htm. We are also taking a number of other steps to integrate sustainable development into the public procurement of food and catering services. These include seminars to raise awareness, bilateral meeting at Ministerial and senior management level (including with representatives of local government) and the production of case studies. The guidance takes account of the Government's policy of achieving value for money and their commitment under the EC rules to ensure that public procurement is fair, transparent and non-discriminatory.

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