East Ayrshire Council’s catering service has been awarded an unprecedented ninth consecutive gold Catering Mark award for their school meals.
The prestigious Soil Association’s Food for Life award is the benchmark for quality and consistency in catering and recognises the Council for its work in supplying fresh and healthy meals across East Ayrshire.
In 2008, East Ayrshire Council became the first Scottish local authority to achieve the Gold Catering Mark for its services to 40 primary schools and has been awarded gold in every year since.
But the success story goes back further.
The Council had been providing fresh and sustainable school meals since 2005, buying local and organic produce individually negotiated procurement contracts.
As part of the commitment to source locally, the Council supports:
Corrie Mains Mauchline for Free Range Eggs
Alistair Spittal Auchinleck for local and organic fruit and vegetables
Torrylinn Creamery, Isle of Arran for cheese
Peroni Fishmongers in Ayr for fish certified by the Marine Stewardship Council
Red Tractor chicken
Pollok Williamson Ayr for Quality Meat Scotland certified beef and outdoor-reared pork
Graham’s Dairy Glasgow for Organic Milk
Greencity Wholefoods Glasgow for organic and Fairtrade goods.
Councillor Douglas Reid Leader of East Ayrshire Council said:
“Being awarded a ninth consecutive gold Catering Mark is a fantastic achievement and recognises how hard we work to make sure the ingredients for our school meals are organic, healthy, and nutritious as this makes for a better quality result on every pupil’s plate.
“This accreditation recognises that hard work and our commitment to providing our customers with good quality food they can trust, from reliable quality conscious suppliers.”
In order to achieve Gold Accreditation the Council’s catering service has to demonstrate that their spend is split between, Organic, Fairtrade, Quality Meat Scotland, Outdoor-reared Pork, Red Tractor, Marine Stewardship Council as well as local.
The catering service also demonstrates their commitment to inspiring healthy eating habits in schools with its family Come Dine with Me events, Grow, Cook, Eat Workshops, taster sessions, talks to pupils in the classroom and a number of fun theme days.
Councillor Reid concluded:
“They say you are what you eat. We take that message very seriously and will continue to make sure each and every pupil enjoys the very best produce each and every day.”