Healthy menus to win food mark award for public sector caterers

Burgers and chips will be off the menu for public sector workers after the government revealed plans to award a new ‘food mark’ to canteens that serve nutritious food and encourage healthier eating.

As part of its Food Matters strategy, the government said it wanted to support the public sector to lead the way in healthy eating by providing healthier food in their staff restaurants.

The voluntary ‘Healthier Food Mark’ will highlight those public sector food outlets that provide healthy, nutritious food to its staff and those in its care. The new mark will be awarded to catering companies if they meet certain criteria, including sourcing ingredients that are lower in saturated fat, salt and sugar.

Almost one-third of all meals served by caterers in the UK are served in public sector institutions. About one million meals are served to NHS patients and staff each day alone.

Public health minister Dawn Primarolo said: “Our ultimate aim is for healthy food to be the norm across England – in hospitals, care homes, prisons and in all public workplaces across the country and to ensure that patients are well fed.

“The public sector has a duty to look after its staff and people in its direct care, such as patients and prisoners, so it’s essential we serve up healthy and nutritious food.”

The scheme will be piloted in the NHS, HM Prison Service and central government staff restaurants before eventually being rolled out across the public sector.

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