Stoke North MP Joan Walley has introduced a Bill to Parliament to set legal standards for food served in hospitals, schools, the armed forces, care homes and all other public institutions.
If successful, the Bill will mean that all public institutions will have to buy, prepare and serve food which is proven to be healthy, good for the environment and meets clear ethical standards.
The Bill is backed by leading environmental groups including Friends of the Earth and 10:10 and would require all public institutions to buy food that meets health, environmental and ethical standards included in a Code for Sustainable Food. This would result, for example, in public institutions buying food which meets high nutritional standards, promotes animal welfare, reduces carbon emissions from farming, including more organic food, and stops the purchase of endangered seafood.
The government spends more than £2 billion a year on food served in public institutions, including schools, hospitals, care homes and the armed forces. By setting legal standards for this food, this Bill would radically improve the meals bought by the taxpayer and served to our children at school, patients in hospitals and brave members of our armed forces. This is so important to tackling diet-related ill health and obesity, but would also provide a much needed shot in the arm for British farmers producing good food.
An important side issue is that wherever healthy food is served, not only is it beneficial to health, but it is also served off tableware. So having a code for sustainable food will indirectly benefit our local tableware and ceramics companies.
There is no guarantee that the Bill will become law but the date for the second reading of the Bill is the 12th November and I hope to gain as much support as possible. I will keep you informed.