22 January 1999

LGArethinks its local food line

By Isabel Davies

THE Local Government Association this week gave a boost to farmers and growers by calling for local government leaders to look at ways of using more British produce and to show they are proud to serve British.

More than 70 local education authorities continue to refuse to serve British beef to school children in their areas, despite last years lifting of the worldwide ban on British beef exports. A further 34 have a ban on beef being served in their primary schools.

Council chiefs hope that the call will increase sales of domestically produced food and save jobs in the rural community.

"This is a very important time for our farmers and the whole of British agriculture. We must all pull together to help this troubled and vital industry," said Alison Clish-Green, chairman of the LGAs rural commission.

Farm leaders have backed the announcement, which came on the same day that the NFU held a reception in the Houses of Parliament to encourage caterers and retailers to support its Proud to Serve British campaign.

Junior farm minister Lord Donoughue backed the initiative and said it was important to push British food because of its quality rather than on patriotism.

The Proud to Serve campaign encourages food providers to recognise the quality and value of British produce and to source it wherever possible.

The NFU said it had already gained the support of major companies such as McDonalds and Booker Foodservice but urged other businesses to work with it to get more British ingredients on menus.