Saturday March 4th 2017
Freedom of Information requests by the BBC show councils in Scotland spent £1.3m on chicken products from Thailand last year.
Alison Johnstone MSP, Health, Children & Young People spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, has expressed disappointment at the lack of progress in sourcing Scottish chicken for school meals.
Freedom of Information requests by Alison three years ago revealed the extent of the problem, with many councils flying in chicken nuggets from Thailand.
Alison Johnstone, Health spokesperson for the Scottish Greens and MSP for Lothian, said:
“It’s disappointing that 3 years on from our investigation this remains a problem. Our economy is losing out. Government food policy remains too focused on exports rather than supporting local procurement. Councils need support so they can buy Scottish more often.”
A Midlothian Council spokeswoman said:
“Where practical, economic and legally possible, we favour Scottish products whenever possible. For example, our raw meats are from a local supplier in Bonnyrigg, Campbell Brothers, while our fruit and vegetable items are from Scottish suppliers including Anderson’s, based at MacMerry.
“It is the case, however, that we do have a contract with Scotland Excel to supply frozen, diced chicken, which is not from Scotland. There are ongoing discussions about local chicken products with local suppliers and currently, consistent supply and cost are the main barriers. We are continuing to work to address this situation.”
Midlothian council, along with the other councils in Scotland, was asked the following Freedom of Information question by the BBC.
a. What percentage of food served at Midlothian schools is local ie reared, grown or produces within 100 miles
b. What percentage of food served in Midlothian school is Scottish.
In response the council listed the main product categories and percentage used and highlighted those from within 100 miles.
Pulses for soup 100%
Red meat (QMS) 100%
Water, bottled 100%
Baked potatoes/dirty potatoes 100%
Salmon & breaded fish 100%
School compliant soft drinks 25%
Fresh milk 100%
Free range eggs 100%
Wrapped cake products 100%
Pre-made sandwiches 100%
Bread & bakery items 30%