Catering Mark Standards Established in British Primary Schools
Children in more than half of the primary schools in Britain are tucking into food that is ethically sourced, free from additives, nutritious and of a high quality.
They have been awarded the Soil Association’s Food For Life Catering Mark which sets high standards in catering. The Mark recognises the importance for caterers to provide fresh, ethical and sustainable school food.
Already more than 8,500 primary schools have reached the standards to receive the award. The food is healthier for children as well as being free from harmful additives and better for the welfare of animals.
Millions of Meals Make the Award
More than 1.6 million meals are being served in schools, universities, hospitals, nurseries and work canteens which meet the Catering Mark’s criteria.
The Catering Mark has bronze, silver and gold awards depending on how much of the ingredients are ethically sourced, environmentally friendly and locally sourced which cuts down on food miles.
After achieving the Food For Life Catering Mark many schools go on to work towards the Food For Life Schools Award which looks at the whole dining experience and food education as well as the quality of food being dished up.
Still Room for Improvement
The School Food Plan says more than half the children are not eating school lunches but are bringing in a packed lunch or going off-site to buy food, which is often junk food. It argues that school dinners are better and healthier for children. By eating a proper, nutritiously-balanced meal they stay more focussed and can improve their attainment.
As well as serving healthy, balanced meals, schools also need to make sure their hygiene levels are high too. This means staff being trained and aware of food hygiene such as having clean hands, wearing gloves, keeping kitchen surfaces spotless and making sure food is stored properly, such as keeping raw meat away from cooked produce.
Kitchen equipment needs to be working properly, especially fridges and freezers which need to keep food stored at exact temperatures. Caterers can look online to compare prices and update kitchen equipment, such as a new commercial freezer, from companies like FFD Ltd and others.
The new awards show school meals have come a long way since Jamie Oliver highlighted the number of Turkey Twizzlers found on the dinner plate, but there is still some way to go.
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