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Volume 489: debated on Tuesday 10 March 2009

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission what proportion of meat produce served in the House of Commons was Freedom Food-approved in the most recent period for which figures are available. (260977)

The situation has changed little since my previous reply on 13 May 2008, Official Report, column 475.

In the 11 month period from April 2008 to February 2009, approximately 35 per cent. of all fresh chicken meat purchased by the House of Commons was approved under the RSPCA’s Freedom Food scheme. No other fresh meat purchased over the same period was Freedom Food approved, but all fresh meat was sourced only from producers demonstrating high levels of animal welfare under other recognised quality assurance schemes, such as the Assured Food Standards Board’s ‘Red Tractor’ scheme.

Lack of availability is the main obstacle to the House of Commons increasing the proportion of Freedom Food approved meats purchased. The Freedom Food organisation acknowledges that supply is not always available in the food service sector due to the demands of retailers and the House of Commons catering service is working closely with the organisation to try to address this issue.