Conservatives lay out food procurement policy

A future Conservative government would insist that all Whitehall departments serve food that meets British production standards.

Speaking at the recent party conference, shadow environment secretary Nick Herbert said government should lead by example to boost sustainable food sourcing in the UK.

“Not a single rasher of bacon – and only 15% of poultry and 19% of lamb – served to UK armed forces is British,” he said. This was despite the introduction of the Public Sector Food Procurement Initiative (PSFPI) in 2003.

“Labour’s failure to back local produce is shameful. Under a Conservative government... we want to see hospitals, schools and local authorities buying food sustainably," added Herbert, who announced that Zac Goldsmith will lead a new advisory group to draw up plans for extending the sustainable food procurement requirement throughout government.

Defra pointed to the 100% of British poultry sourced by its own department and the 100% of beef and veal sourced by the Department for Transport. But it added that public bodies could not discriminate in favour of domestic producers, as this was illegal under the EU Treaty and procurement directives.