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Departmental Food

Volume 508: debated on Tuesday 23 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if she will take steps to ensure that the meat and dairy products procured by her Department and its non-departmental bodies are free range or produced to standards equivalent to those of the RSPCA Freedom Food scheme. (323078)

The Department has a private finance initiative contract for the provision of fully serviced accommodation which includes catering. The contract is with Telereal Trillium and their catering services supplier is Eurest (part of the Compass Group UK and Ireland). Since 2003, the Department has been working with these suppliers, actively pursuing a Public Sector Food Procurement Initiative action plan and one of the key objectives of this Initiative is to raise farming standards.

Compass Group has confirmed that they endorse the Farm Animal Welfare Council’s Five Freedoms concept and provide full traceability of products and suppliers within their approved supply chain to ensure animals reared for meat, fish, milk and eggs are raised to high standards of animal welfare.

Compass Group has also confirmed a long-standing commitment to source its seafood as sustainably as possible. They were the first food service company to achieve the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Chain of Custody certification enabling them to serve certified sustainable, MSC labelled seafood choices. Within the DWP contract many of their sites are buying products to these standards and promotional activities are run to encourage DWP staff to purchase the more ethically sourced products.

The information requested in respect of DWP’s non-departmental bodies is not collated centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.