School meal commitment welcomed

Charles Buchan.
Charles Buchan.

Aberdeenshire SNP councillors have welcomed a commitment given by council officers to investigate and report back to them on the traceability and welfare of chicken being used in local school meals.

The commitment from officials was given after Councillors at last month’s Education, Learning and Leisure Committee meeting expressed concerns over earlier newspaper reports that cooked chicken from Thailand was being used in Aberdeenshire’s school kitchens.

The chicken, which complies with all relevant EU legislation and meets Scottish Government nutritional regulations, is purchased for school catering by 25 of Scotland’s 32 local authorities.

Councillors also asked about the sourcing of fish and other food products from local producers and suppliers.

Speaking after the meeting, Fraserburgh & District SNP Councillor Charles Buchan said that he welcomed the commitment from officers to provide further information on the chicken being supplied.

“Parents need reassurance that the ingredients which go into preparing the meals their children eat in school are obtained responsibly and sustainable in every sense”, he said.

“Aberdeenshire is renowned throughout the world for the quality of its food production, so we want to see local suppliers tendering for public sector contracts.

“However, it’s also important that large contracts are packaged in ways which make it possible for local suppliers to tender.

“We need assurance not just on animal welfare and traceability in the food chain, but also that everything is being done to source good quality locally produced food wherever possible.

“I look forward to a wider discussion on this when the report comes to committee.”