Buy more British food, says NFU

THE Government’s drive to increase the amount of British food used in its catering contracts does not go far enough, the NFU has said.

Agriculture minister Jim Paice has this week launched the Government Buying Standards which is due to come into force from September this year.

It includes a raft of standards such as animal welfare, production, environmental protection, seasonal food, Fair Trade, energy and waste management as well as nutrition.

But the NFU believes it falls short of the mark in a number of areas which could lead to confusion for procurers and undermine the excellent work British farmers and growers already do.

NFU head of food chain Lee Woodger said: “We welcome the Minister’s statement to ensure that where Government lays down standards of production, its own purchases should meet these standards.

“We believe this should be the norm across government departments and local authorities, but we are not there yet.

“Any effort within the Government and its agencies to ensure procurement to British standards is to be applauded.

“But there are a number of areas where these standards fall short of the mark or could even undermine the efforts of our farmers and growers.”