Footprint Blog


Shock: UK Government trough not British!

Posted in 1 by foodservicefootprint on August 13, 2009

Footprint has just received a press release from the Countryside Alliance ostensibly wanting to know why all the food in HMG buildings is not of British origin. Under the intriguing title of ‘Is buying British patriotism or practicality’ they come up with a few ‘revelations’ as follows:  

In response to the request for “the proportion of food which was procured by official residences for official functions in the past twelve months and which was domestically produced”, The Cabinet Office (responsible for No.10 Downing Street and Chequers) admitted “There is no information on whether the proportion of food procured in the past twelve months was domestically produced.”

The failure of No. 10 Downing Street to record and monitor the amount of British food being procured for official functions is contrary to Hilary Benn, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’s, recent exhortation that if people “want a strong, thriving successful farming industry – if you want to support the industry in Britain – buy British”. 

The findings follow Gordon Brown’s statement last year “Everybody knows that British bacon is best”, despite the Cabinet Office, of which the Prime Minister’s residence and office are an “integral part”, had failed to buy any British bacon in 2007-08.

Countryside Alliance Chief Executive Simon Hart commented: “The Government needs to practice what they preach. It is time for our government to support the countryside in the most simple of ways – by buying British. There is no excuse for key government residences not being able to tell us how much of the food they are procuring and serving at official functions is British”

Does it really matter whether or not the government records the origin of the food consumed in the collective trough? Surely they should have better things to do. Having said that, I think there’s a pretty strong argument that our governors should be using exclusively British product, where possible, particularly when advising the rest of us to do so for the purpose of soundbites!

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