Government still needs to buy more British food

The government still has more to do on increasing the amount of British food it procures, according to food and farming minister Jim Fitzpatrick.

Latest statistics from DEFRA show 13 out of 21 departments have increased the amount of domestically-produced food it sources.

The report, The proportion of domestically-produced food used by government departments, says nine departments use more food approved to Assured Farm Standards and more than 90% of milk, eggs and potatoes used in departments come from Britain

The majority of cheese served in prisons is produced in Britain and soldiers on active service only eat UK pork, adds the report, which looked at provenance of government food from 1 April 2008 to 31 March 2009.

Departments also used 10% more UK vegetables and 7% more british bacon, it says.

Mr Fitzpatrick said the statistics were encouraging but there was still more that departments could do.

“There are areas where British producers could potentially be supplying more to the public sector,” he added.

“Government departments are looking at how they can increase the amount of food they serve which is high-quality enough to meet Assured Farm Standards, or has been fairly traded.

“We also know that there’s a big market there for local and seasonal producers in this country.”