A period of consultation has been launched by the Soil Association to propose changes to the Food for Life Catering Mark standards at Silver and Gold.

Standards consultation opens for Soil Association’s Food For Life catering mark

 A period of consultation has been launched by the Soil Association to propose changes to the Food for Life Catering Mark standards at Silver and Gold.

The consultation is open until 9am on Wednesday 23 November 2016 to all caterers, suppliers and stakeholders.

 Rich Watts, senior manager of Catering Mark at the Soil Association, said: “The aim of the Catering Mark has from the beginning been improving caterers’ food offer in terms of health, quality and sustainability.

 "Uptake has been fantastic, especially in the public sector, and the Catering Mark is now recognised by Government as a best-practice tool - meaning we have an even greater obligation to promote responsible catering at the highest level.”

 Changes are proposed in two areas of the standards:

Making healthy eating easier

The proposals aim to make these standards more rigorous, more relevant to the wider public health agenda and more ambitious.

Environmentally friendly and ethical food

Additional points are proposed to reward caterers who avoid or use more sustainable palm oil and who serve more sustainable and ethical drinks.

 There are now over 1.5 million Food for Life Catering Mark meals served nationally every day, over half of which are Silver or Gold standard. The Catering Mark is an independent endorsement that caterers are taking steps to improve their food, awarding points for more sustainable, local and organic food.

 Following any changes resulting from the consultation, all caterers will be given a suitable lead-in period to adapt in order to ensure they retain their Silver or Gold status. There will also be a published deadline for applications under the existing standards.

 Abi Burns is Chair of the Catering Mark Standards Committee which is made up of external representatives to ensure a balanced and informed view when setting the standards. She said; “The Catering Mark aims to start where people are, and the gradual steps caterers can take to progress from Bronze to Silver and Gold aims to help them reach even better targets for making healthy eating easier.

 "One example of a proposed change is to sugary drinks – rewarding the serving of better drinks at silver and gold encourages caterers to take a step-by-step approach to improving everything on their menu.”

 The team would like to hear the opinions of stakeholders on the proposed changes. Anyone with an interest can learn more about the proposals and complete a response questionnaire here.

 The deadline for responses is 23rd November 2016.

 Source eatoutmagazine.co.uk, 14th October 2016