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East Lothian gains Silver for the second time with Food for Life Scotland

East Lothian gains Silver for the second time

East Lothian’s catering team are celebrating after the council renewed its Food for Life Served Here (FFLSH) Silver award for the second year in a row.

The council, which first received the FFLSH Bronze award in 2013, is now serving around 4,500 nutritious, sustainable and locally-sourced Food for Life meals in its 37 primary schools and nurseries every day. 

Local authorities receive the award following an independent assessment and inspection to ensure the food being served in schools across the local authority is good for pupils’ health, good for the environment and good for the local economy. 

The scheme is run by Soil Association Scotland and funded by Scottish Government.

As the country faces a cost-of-living crisis, catering teams are under increased pressure to balance costs, whilst school meals have become more important than ever as a nutritional safety net for pupils whose families might be struggling.

At the same time, the need to tackle climate change through serving food that is sustainably produced remains paramount. 

East Lothian has demonstrated what can be achieved despite difficult circumstances. As an FFLSH Silver award holder, the council ensures at least 5 percent of the ingredients budget for their service is spent on organic produce.

 This is in addition to meeting the FFLSH Bronze award standards, which include ensuring that a minimum of 75 percent 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. 

Tracey McConnachie, Area Officer Nutrition, East Lothian Council, said: “Our cooks were already cooking from scratch, but we needed to look at what they were cooking from scratch. It was about doing the right thing for children. Gaining the FFLSH Silver award meant that we could guarantee that we were doing the right thing all the time; not just some of the time.

“We are delighted to be using organic flour provided by Mungoswells Malt & Milling, produced right here in East Lothian. To reduce vehicles on the road we have this delivered by our fruit and veg supplier based in Macmerry, George Anderson & Sons.”

Councillor Fiona Dugdale, Cabinet Spokesperson for Education and Children's and Family Services, said: “I am absolutely delighted that the excellent work of our school kitchen staff has been recognised by the achievement of a second successive FFLSH Silver award. This is testament to both the commitment and skills of our teams, who work hard to provide nutritious fresh mails daily, whilst using as much local produce as possible. I would like to congratulate everyone involved.”

Sarah Duley, Head of Food, Food for Life Scotland, said: “Congratulations to East Lothian Council for renewing their Food for Life Served Here Silver Award for another year. This is a huge achievement and shows that staff are dedicated to providing pupils with a hot, nutritious meal that’s healthy, freshly prepared and sustainably produced.

“To see locally grown organic produce like organic flour provided by Mungoswells Malt & Milling is fantastic, and a testament to the work by East Lothian Council and Food for Life Scotland. We are delighted to recognise East Lothian Council for continuing to put more good food on school plates and for supporting Scotland’s food businesses and Good Food Nation ambitions.”

Discover more about how Food for Life Scotland is digging deeper to transform the way we eat across local authorities for a better planet, better community and better health with our 2023 Impact Report.