East Dunbartonshire achieves the Food for Life Served Here bronze award
East Dunbartonshire Council has achieved the Food for Life Served Here bronze award for its school meals service across its 33 primary schools. The prestigious award is a nationally recognised mark of quality, which ensures the 5,800 school meals being served daily are good for pupils’ health, good for the environment and good for the local economy. The programme is run by Soil Association Scotland and funded by Scottish Government. East Dunbartonshire is the 19th Scottish local authority to achieve the award.
East Dunbartonshire’s achievement was marked with a celebratory event yesterday at Thomas Muir Primary School in Glasgow. The event was attended by Councillor Paul Ferretti, members of East Dunbartonshire Council’s Facilities Management team, local supplier McLays and the Food for Life Scotland team. Pupils learnt all about where their Christmas lunches were grown, with carrots from Laurencekirk in Aberdeen, potatoes from Upper Dysart in Montrose and parsnips and sprouts from West Garleton in Dunbar.
As many families struggle with the cost-of-living crisis, school meals are increasingly important as a nutritional safety net for Scotland’s children. Public sector food also has huge potential to contribute to environmental goals through providing a route to market for sustainably sourced produce, whilst buying locally strengthens local economies.
As part of the Food for Life Served Here Award, East Dunbartonshire’s catering teams ensure that a minimum of 75% of dishes are freshly prepared from unprocessed ingredients. Meals are also free from undesirable trans fats, sweeteners and additives, and use free range eggs, higher welfare meat and ingredients from sustainable and ethical sources.
East Dunbartonshire Council is also working with local producers via suppliers such as McLays Foods, based in Glasgow. By buying Scottish produce, supply chains are shortened, contributing to inclusive growth in the economy and helping local producers to supply sizeable public sector markets, increasing resilience to future market shocks.
Sarah Duley, Head of Food, Soil Association said, “We are delighted that East Dunbartonshire Council has achieved their Food for Life Served Here bronze award. They are the 19th local authority to join the Food for Life family and we welcome them wholeheartedly. We are in awe of the efforts of school caterers across Scotland, especially as we all grapple with uncertainty in the face of the cost-of-living crisis, it is invaluable to know that children coming into school have access to a nutritious, freshly prepared meal at lunchtime.”
Councillor Paul Ferretti, Convener of the Place, Neighbourhood & Corporate Assets Committee said, “It’s widely recognised that access to a balanced, healthy and nourishing school meal helps pupils to learn, play and engage with their peers. It increases concentration, improves behaviour and provides the nutrition children need to grow and develop.
“At East Dunbartonshire Council we are committed to providing our young people with a healthy school meal that helps shape eating and drinking habits and encourages positive eating choices.
“We were able to meet the criteria for the Bronze Award in all 33 of our Primary Schools - which is a fantastic achievement. A consultation is now due to launch in January next year where we’re asking parents and pupils to let us know what food choices they would like made available, and our aim now is to achieve bronze award status in all our secondary schools.”
Mairi Gougeon, Rural Affairs Secretary said, “This is well-deserved recognition for the work done by East Dunbartonshire Council’s catering teams who are dedicated to serving high quality meals in local schools.”