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Food Procurement

Volume 403: debated on Monday 14 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance he gives to (a) health trusts and (b) agencies for which he is responsible regarding the procurement of food that is (i) local and (ii) British. [99367]

Public sector purchasers must comply with the Treaty of Rome and World Trade Organisation agreements irrespective of the value of a requirement. Where the requirement is in excess of the thresholds built into the European Commission directives, the appropriate directive, whether it be works, supplies or services, must also be complied with.The overall aim of the directives is to create a single European market devoid of all trading restrictions and barriers in which all businesses have an opportunity to compete equally. Therefore, public sector purchasers must ensure that they act fairly and equitably and perform their duties in a non-discriminatory manner.The NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency (PASA) is working closely with other Government bodies to investigate the opportunities of delivering the Government's local sustainable development initiatives while remaining compliant with European Commission directives. For example, PASA is working closely with the Peninsular Consortium, following their Objective One funding from the European Union, to offer help and advice with their proposed business case for the future food provision within the Cornwall region. This could be a test-bed for future initiatives within the national health service.