Public sector food scheme criticised

4 October 2009

5 October 2009

The government must improve the way it measures progress on sustainable food procurement, according to a senior figure at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Speaking at a green purchasing event in London last week, Katrina Williams, director general of Defra's food and farming group, admitted the department did not have a clear strategy for the public sector food procurement initiative (PSFPI) when it was launched in 2003. She said the department had embarked upon the scheme without considering it was "the right route" or establishing how it was going to measure improvement.

Williams added that the PSFPI has not always been advertised as a value-for-money proposition and Defra must promote how sustainable food procurement could be delivered at a reasonable cost in the current economic climate.

She later told SM the government must work with food purchasing experts to highlight examples of high standards on sustainability. Defra has no timescales for its improvement plans yet.

Earlier this year the Countryside Alliance was critical of some government departments for failing to record and monitor how much local food they buy (news, 27 August 2009).

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