2015-09-09  

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Public Sector Food Procurement Failing British Farmers

The Tenant Farmers Association has accused the UK Government of failing to support British agriculture through its lack of commitment to source food for the public sector from British farmers.

TFA National Chairman Stephen Wyrill said;
“Sadly, to date, the British Government has been all mouth and no trousers on its food procurement policy”.

TFA National Chairman Stephen Wyrill

TFA National Chairman Stephen Wyrill

It is just over a year since the publication of Dr Peter Bonfield’s report commissioned by the last Conservative led Government to produce a plan to ensure that public sector procurement of food and catering services maximised the health outcomes of those people affected by it, in a way that boosts support for a vibrant and competitive UK food and farming sector.

At the launch of the report Prime Minister David Cameron said ‘I want to ensure that money is spent on nutritious and sustainable food, delivered by Britain’s thriving rural economy’.

“Despite this rhetoric, absolutely no progress has been made in implementing the recommendations of the Bonfield report which set out a framework for ensuring that decisions about food procurement were made not just in relation to price but against a balanced set of criteria including health and wellbeing, resource efficiency, quality of service, farm assurance, food waste management, engagement with SMEs, animal welfare, nutrition, and energy management,” said Mr Wyrill.

“British farmers are best placed to provide food to the public sector which matches these important criteria. Too often we have heard stories of public sector establishments providing low grade, cheap food to its clients because of inadequate sourcing policies. The food in our hospitals, schools and other public sector outlets, often dealing with some of the most vulnerable members of our society, should be of the highest quality,” said Mr Wyrill.

“British farmers feel let down by the Government. We can only wait and see if there will be more action on this front now that DEFRA Secretary of State Liz Truss MP has been forced to announce again yesterday that she wanted to improve public sector food procurement policy. Let’s hope that over the next year we see some concerted effort from the Government to achieve this,” said Mr Wyrill.

TFA

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