Danish-style shake up for Scottish school meals

Mark Ruskell, MSP, has called for the serving of organic food to be made a mandatory requirement in all Scottish public sector kitchens, including schools and hospitals. The Danish policy which Ruskell’s plan is based upon sets government targets high: 60% of all food served in public institutions should be organic.

Ruskell told the Sunday Herald: “I’ve looked at the amazing work that’s happening in Copenhagen and many other countries in Europe showing the way by using public procurement and the public purse to drive forward a health agenda when it comes to food.”

The Soil Association has welcomed Ruskell’s proposal: “We believe that all public sector bodies should be beacons of good food, and the Denmark example shows that it can be done. Through our Food for Life Scotland programme, we know that Scottish local authorities are also making great strides,” says Aoife Behan, policy manager, Soil Association Scotland.

“It’s time to get good food on the menu in all public sector organisations”

Regionally, the SA has praised East Ayrshire, North Ayrshire, Stirling and Aberdeen City Council for their efforts in sourcing organic food for school meals. It dismisses claims that these ingredients are more expensive: “From our experience, using organic produce does not necessarily lead to higher food costs in public sector kitchens. In fact, it can bring many other benefits such as increased access to seasonal fruit and vegetables, higher staff morale in public sector kitchens and positive environmental outcomes,” says Behan.

“We believe with support and leadership from government, and clear prioritization of good food, that high quality food is achievable in Scotland’s public kitchens. The Scottish Government has promised to consult on a Good Food Nation Bill and targets for organic food in the public sector should be part of this package of measures,” continues Behan. “It’s time to get good food on the menu in all public sector organizations. If the government can achieve this, it will achieve its vision for Scotland: a Good Food Nation,” Behan concludes.