London authorities commit to sustainable food

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8 December 2010 | Lindsay Clark

The GreaterLondon Authority (GLA) will ensure all its catering contracts meet stricter sustainability standards in future.

It was announced on Monday night by mayor of London Boris Johnson that the Sustainable Food Procurement Commitment will require all food bought by the GLA Group is traceable to its production source.

It will use the Red Tractor Assured FoodStandard scheme as minimum for farm produce. Meanwhile, livestock products will be produced to higher welfare and environmental standards and all coffee, tea, bananas, sugar and a wide range of chocolates will be Fairtrade.

The GLA Group includes London Fire Brigade, the Metropolitan Police Service and Transport for London. By 2012, members have committed that, when catering contracts are up for renewal, sustainability requirements will be included in selection criteria. This would be achieved without any extra overall costs, the group said.

Richard Barnes, deputy mayor and the GLA Group’s responsible procurement programme lead, said: “We are determined to ensure that public money is used efficiently but even in challenging economic times, that it is also spent fairly and with maximum benefit to Londoners. This means using our purchasing clout to buy goods and services that are ethnically sourced, have minimum impact on the environment and ensure that we generate skilled jobs, apprenticeships and training.”

The sustainable food commitment, which is part of the Olympics food legacy, commits authorities to buy free-range eggs and a proportion of chicken and pork products that are RSPCA Freedom Food-certified or equivalent. No endangered fish (as certified by the Marine Stewardship Council) will be bought, and sources will be demonstrably sustainable, which means they will have the Marine Conservation Society’s Fish to Eat certification.

Meanwhile, requirements of the faith and diverse communities of the capital will be taken into account at each catering site, the GLA Group said.

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