School Meals: Less than Half LEAs Know Where Pupils' Food Comes From
Two-thirds of Britain's schools do not know where the food in school meals comes from, a survey has revealed.
Only 60 out of 172 Local Education Authorities (LEAs), which are responsible for procuring food for schools, knew the country of origin of the food served, despite public support for buying food for school meals locally.
A recent poll by YouGov revealed that 61% of the British public supported schools buying British meat, even if it costs more than imports.
Of the LEAs who do record the sourcing of school food, only 62% bought British, despite recent campaigns by Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall that encouraged schools to use more local produce.
The 'Encouraging Schools To Buy British' report, conducted by the Countryside Alliance Foundation, was released on Monday following a freedom of information request by the organisation. Strict government regulations ensure that British famers produce food in accordance with some of the highest hygiene, nutritional and welfare standards in the world.
The foundation said there needed to be a "concerted effort" to urge schools across the country to invest taxpayers' money back into local producers.
Alice Barnard, of the foundation, said: "Too often, the public sector turns to foreign suppliers for cheap goods.
"But if more schools used local producers, they would be investing in higher-quality meals and help to keep their children healthy and improve concentration."