School meals provider honoured for serving up a treat for Shropshire’s schools
Shropshire Council’s Shire Services has been awarded the Soil Association’s Bronze Food for Life Catering Mark for serving fresh and healthy meals in Shropshire’s primary schools.
Shire Services currently provide around 17,000 meals per day to 100 primary schools and 16 secondary schools in Shropshire.
A further 8,000 meals a day are also catered by Shire Services for approximately 70 schools and colleges in North Wales, Telford, Herefordshire, Cheshire, Worcestershire and the West Midlands.
The recent growth of Shire Services outside Shropshire was heralded as being a positive endorsement of the quality of the team.
Janet Croft, Service Manager at Shire Services saw this award as yet another mark of recognition for their hard work, saying:
“We take great care to ensure we are providing the best, freshly prepared meals we can and I’m extremely proud of all the work everyone in the team has done to earn this recognition.”
The Food for Life Catering Mark originated as part of the successful Food for Life Partnership, which is working with over 4,500 schools across the country to put fresh, healthy dinners on the school menu and food education in the timetable.
Richard Watts, senior Catering Mark manager, says:
“The Bronze Catering Mark is an excellent achievement and recognises the vital role that fresh, seasonal meals play in healthy, planet-friendly menus, especially for large-scale catering. We’re delighted that Shire Services has achieved Bronze and look forward to seeing the positive changes it makes to school food in Shropshire going forward.”
The School Food Plan, launched in July 2013, sets out the step changes needed to improve food provision to millions of children in England. The plan references the Food for Life Partnership throughout, and highlights the Food for Life Catering Mark as the procurement standard for which caterers should be aiming.
The Catering Mark brings together all of the issues people care about – health, climate change and animal welfare. It recognises restaurants and caterers who serve fresh food which is free from controversial additives and better for animal welfare. More and more, people want to know where their food comes from and how it was produced.
The Food for Life Catering Mark offers a guarantee that fresh food you can trust is always on the menu, providing reassurance that the food we serve meets high standards of traceability, freshness and provenance.
The Catering Mark is open to all food providers. The Bronze Catering Mark is awarded to those who serve seasonal, freshly prepared meals free from undesirable additives (including MSG, tartrazine and aspartame). No GM ingredients are used and all eggs are from free range hens.
The New Economics Foundation undertook an independent evaluation and found that for every £1 spent on Food for Life menus, there is a £3 return to the local economy.
The Bronze Food for Life Catering Mark Standards are:
- Meals contain no undesirable food additives or hydrogenated fat
- 75% of dishes are freshly prepared
- Meat is from farms which satisfy UK welfare standards
- Eggs are from free range hens
- Menus are seasonal
- Training is provided for all catering staff
- No GM ingredients are used
- Free drinking water is available
- No endangered fish are served
- Information about where the food has come from is on display
- Suppliers meet food safety standards
- School caterers meet government guidelines for food and nutrition