Soil Association launches consultation on Catering Mark frozen meals
15 April 2013
Today the Soil Association opens a month-long consultation on its Food for Life Catering Mark (Catering Mark). The consultation invites comments on proposed changes to the Catering Mark Standards to incorporate frozen hospital and community meals.
An initial consultation, which ended in February 2013, highlighted that a limited number of settings could benefit from achieving the Catering Mark for frozen meals where there are no proper facilities to prepare meals on site. Critically, under its aim of good food for all, the Soil Association believes in encouraging the best possible food for those who need it most. Therefore it proposes to adapt the Standards to permit frozen meals in hospitals and community meals settings only where no proper on site kitchens are available.
Peter Melchett, Soil Association policy director, said: "We will always insist on meals being freshly prepared on site if suitable facilities are available. This proposed change to the Food for Life Catering Mark Standards is designed to give the best possible support to those hospital and community meals catering teams which do not have access to proper kitchens. It is a travesty that many hospital meals cannot be freshly prepared on site, but where they can’t, we want to respond to the many caterers who are enthusiastic about the Catering Mark and show real dedication in preparing healthy, environmentally friendly, high animal welfare meals, with full traceability throughout the food chain."
The consultation will ask questions including whether the Standards should require a frozen meal to always be served with fresh ingredients prepared on site such as salad or homemade bread, and the distance from hub kitchen to point of service.
Beccy Speight, Chair of the Food for Life Catering Mark Standards Committee said: "The views of everyone with an interest in the Food for Life Catering Mark are important to help ensure the Standards are robust and fit for purpose. We always consult on a proposed shift in the Standards such as this one and hope that caterers, hospitals, community meal providers and dieticians will take the opportunity presented by this consultation to make their views known."
Notes to editors:
The Catering Mark is a unique scheme which aims to tackle prominent issues in the foodservice industry such as health, animal welfare and climate change. The bronze, silver and gold tiers reward food providers who use fresh, seasonal, local and organic ingredients.
Over 750,000 Catering Mark standard meals are currently served each day, in schools, hospitals, children’s nurseries, universities and workplaces. Caterers choose the Catering Mark because it offers their customers an independent guarantee that their meals meet minimum standards, and gives them recognition for the work they do in preparing food that is fresh, healthier and better for animal welfare. You can find out more on the Catering Mark website.
Full details of the consultations are on our standards webpages. Anyone with an interest in the Catering Mark, or the areas this consultation relates to, is encouraged to respond using the survey online at www.soilassociation.org/consultation
If you would like any further information, please contact Jenny Collins, Standards Project Manager on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0117 314 5178.