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North Ayrshire serves up gold standard

North Ayrshire Council continues to lead the way in public sector catering after achieving the Soil Association’s Gold Food for Life Catering Mark for the third year running, serving fresh and healthy meals made with local and organic ingredients. Gold is the highest level of achievement within the Catering Mark scheme, and North Ayrshire Council is one of only three Gold award holders in Scotland.

More and more, people want to know where their food comes from and how it has been made. The Gold Food for Life Catering Mark guarantees nutrition, animal welfare, the environment and staff well-being are considered in all decisions. After a rigorous on-site inspection, North Ayrshire Council has proved that they prepare meals using at least 15% organic ingredients as well as a selection of ingredients produced locally or in the UK, and are making healthy eating the easy option.

North Ayrshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Place, Councillor Tony Gurney, said: “I’m delighted that we have retained the prestigious Gold Food for Life Catering Mark for the third year running.

“Our award-winning Catering Service produces on average 6,844 Food for Life freshly prepared meals per day – an increase of 24% since 2013, when we were first awarded the Catering Mark by the Soil Association.

“We’re extremely proud to boast that 80% of our lunches in primary schools, as well as Arran High, are made from fresh food that includes farm assured meats, organic, local, seasonal produce and fresh fish.  Additionally, our menus do not include any harmful additives or GM ingredients.

“Our Primary 1 to 3 school meal uptake is currently one of the highest in the UK at 86% and we are confident that this outstanding statistic is partly attributed to our Gold Food for Life menus.

“Retaining this gold mark gives our customers confidence in the quality of the ingredients used in our recipes.

Angela Mitchell, Acting Director of Soil Association Scotland, said: “The Gold Catering Mark is a fantastic achievement so it’s brilliant to see North Ayrshire Council gaining recognition for serving great fresh meals made with seasonal, local and organic ingredients.

Serving menus to Gold Catering Mark standards supports local businesses and the use of organic, local and seasonal food can significantly reduce carbon footprints, so this is a win-win for planet-friendly food and the local economy. North Ayrshire Council is leading the way in the drive to improve food culture in Scotland.”

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