Source: Soil Association
The Soil Association has launched new standards for the Food for Life Catering Mark, which are replacing the current criteria from Monday 30 January 2012. The new points-based system for silver and gold awards is designed to offer more flexibility for individual caterers, allowing them to emphasise their strengths and priorities, while maintaining the same rigorous principles and high standards. It will reward every percentage of ingredient spend on ethical, environmentally-friendly, local and healthy food. The Soil Association has created a Points Calculator where caterers can find out if their menus meet the silver or gold standards.
The new standards have been designed to better recognise caterers' different motivations and encourage them to tell their own stories. For example, some gold Catering Mark holders will serve almost exclusively organic menus while others will be allowed to prioritise local sourcing or healthy eating. However, all caterers who achieve the silver and gold Catering Mark standards will continue to show a strong commitment to serving healthy, local, free-range and organic food, the Soil Association reports.
The standards for the bronze Catering Mark remain fixed, with five additions to increase the scheme’s focus on health and food education. The bronze standards provide a guarantee that all accredited menus offer meals which are freshly prepared, seasonal, free from trans fats and controversial additives. From 30 January 2012, the following additional standards are required to achieve the bronze Catering Mark: free drinking water is prominently available, no fish from the Marine Conservation Society ‘fish to avoid’ list is served, information about food provenance is on display, all suppliers have been verified to ensure they apply appropriate food safety standards, and caterers in schools, early years and residential care settings can demonstrate their compliance with national standards or guidelines on nutrition.