Havering Catering Service (HCS) has been awarded the Soil Association's Food for Life Gold award, becoming the first local authority caterer in London to achieve the top score.
HCS, the in-house catering provider for the London Borough of Havering in East London, was recognised for serving fresh and healthy meals made with local and organic ingredients.
It delivers a meals service to all but one primary school in the borough, serving 13,000 meals daily. HCS began its Food for Life journey in 2010 when it was awarded the Bronze award.
Gerry Clinton, catering & traded services manager at HCS, commented: "We hope our customers will enjoy their meals all the more knowing that half of the ingredients are produced locally and 30% are organic."
Explaining the importance of the Catering Mark, Rob Sexton, chief executive of Soil Association Certification, added: "Serving menus to Gold Catering Mark standards can significantly reduce carbon emissions and supports local businesses, so this is a win-win for planet-friendly food and the local economy."
The Food for Life Catering Mark is open to all restaurants and caterers. The bronze, silver and gold tiers offer a step-by-step route to serving more freshly prepared, locally produced, seasonal and organic food.
Caterers that have achieved the gold Catering Mark use a wide range of organic ingredients and source half of their ingredients from the local area. Organic beef and pork and Freedom Food turkey feature regularly on the menu as well as Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified fish.
By Janie Manzoori-Stamford
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