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Moray Council's catering team recognised with Food for Life Served Here award

By Jonathan Clark

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MORAY Council’s catering team has been recognised with a national award for preparing and serving food that is fresh, local and healthy for primary school pupils.

The catering team received the The Food for Life Served Here award after an assessment and inspection found that food served in Moray primary schools is good for pupils’ health, the environment and the local economy.

The award is run by Soil Association Scotland and funded by the Scottish Government.

Moray Council has been given the bronze award, which means that 75 per cent of dishes across Moray's 45 primary school kitchens are freshly prepared and unprocessed ingredients.

Around 17,500 meals are served in primary schools every week.

Left to right: Catering manager Elaine McRae, Cook supervisor Irene Walber, Catering asistants Janette O’Carrol amd Jennifer Dixon and Adele McIlwraith.
Left to right: Catering manager Elaine McRae, Cook supervisor Irene Walber, Catering asistants Janette O’Carrol amd Jennifer Dixon and Adele McIlwraith.

Catering manager Elaine McRae said: “School meals in Moray remain a popular choice for families as we prioritise serving healthy and nutritious meals using responsibly-sourced and ethical ingredients.

“I’m delighted that the dedication of the catering service has been recognised through this award. We’ll continue to ensure our primary pupils receive high-quality, tasty and nutritious food – and keep their favourite dishes on the menu!

“What’s also important for us is being able to support our local growers and food producers, and we spend around £58,000 a year with local suppliers for school meal provision.

"We encourage local businesses to look out for opportunities for partnering with us; procurement opportunities are advertised on Public Contracts Scotland.”

Moray Council's catering team buy their free-range eggs from Allaburn in Elgin, seasonal vegetables from Swansons Fruit and Veg in Elgin and meat from Fraser Brothers Butchers in Forres.

The council recently reconfigured its school bakery contract to maximise opportunities to make it more accessible for local businesses to tender for the service, resulting in a Keith bakery being successful.

SNP Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon said: “I would like to congratulate everyone involved in achieving this significant milestone.

“The Food for Life programme has made a big difference to the lives of many young people across the country and I welcome the addition of Moray Council to the growing number of local authorities across Scotland taking part in the Food for Life programme.

“Moray Council’s participation will have a huge impact on pupils and local producers.

“It will also contribute to our wider goals of becoming a good food nation, reducing inequality, and achieving net zero emissions by 2045.

“This is well-deserved recognition for the work done by the council."

Head of Food at Soil Association Scotland, Sarah Duley, said: “We are delighted that Moray has come on board as the 18th local authority to achieve the Food for Life Served Here award, joining us in our mission to get fresh, local and sustainable food onto school plates across Scotland.

"Public procurement is an important tool that can be used to transform food production and supply, strengthen local economies and tackle climate change.

“This award recognises the fantastic work Moray Council is doing in building relationships with local suppliers and serving primary school children with nutritious and sustainably-sourced food and gives the catering team the recognition they deserve.”

All pupils in Moray from P1 to P5 are eligible for free school meals. To find out more, visit Moray Council’s website.

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