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Departmental Food

Volume 508: debated on Wednesday 24 March 2010

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport if he will take steps to ensure that the meat and dairy products procured by his Department and its non-departmental bodies are free range or produced to standards equivalent to those of the RSPCA Freedom Food scheme. (323072)

The Department for Transport conducts its procurement in accordance with UK Government's value for money policies and principles, utilising collaborative arrangements where these are available and in accordance with the legal and regulatory framework.

The Department and its agencies generally provide staff catering and vending services via either an estates private finance initiative or facilities management contracts. These provisions are typically provided on a commercial basis and are not directly subsidised, and they operate in a competitive environment.

For example, the Department's HQ facilities management contract requires the contractor to comply with Government guidance on sustainable food and farming in the delivery of the contract. The contract requires the contractor to take account of the various Government food initiatives, and directs them to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs websites, where the contractor is encouraged to consider higher level schemes such as The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Freedom Foods standards.

Another example is the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency's estates private finance initiative contract, which requires the service provider to comply with the sustainable food procurement initiative and other Government guidance on food and farming in delivery of the service.

As and when each of the Department's catering contracts needs to be renewed, consideration will be given to emerging higher level welfare standards when specifying replacement contracts.