School Meals , Source and Choice   

Phil Welsh

19 July 2013

My pet Jack Russells’ Weller and Max are fed one freshly cooked locally sourced chicken mixed with boiled rice every day.

I can never complain about cost or indeed preparation time as I decided on this feeding method and now I have started it there’s no way I can resort to feeding them standard dog food.

Imagine then my surprise when I read the article in yesterday’s Courier which highlighted what our school children are fed when they opt for a school lunch or dinner; chicken sourced from Thailand.

Now I’m not for one second suggesting that this meat is in any way harmful or indeed contaminated., however, it would appear that parents have little or no choice in regard to what their children are eating while at school.

The SNP have apparently contacted Tayside Contracts in regard to this and are awaiting an answer.

Surely though we already what that answer will be – cost.  

It is blatantly obvious that the poultry sourced from Asia will be dramatically cheaper than meat which is sourced locally.

Price however should not justify the sourcing methods; especially when the public discover, in the very same article, that the Scottish Prison Service source their meat and poultry from a Scottish master butcher. 

Now perhaps I’m reading too much into this but surely Scottish schoolchildren deserve a nutritious wholesome meal prepared with quality locally sourced produce.

There are three main points as to why this should be.

1-Scottish meat and poultry is world renowned, it attracts a global market and a great deal of the advertising which it carries emphasizes the fact that what the consumer is buying is indeed Scottish. (If it’s good enough to ship overseas, it must be good enough for our school kids).

2- Buying locally produced meat and poultry is good for the local economy.

3-Importing meat and poultry from outside the UK carries a huge carbon footprint, something which governments are always keen to reduce.

For many kids the meal they receive while in school may be their only decent meal of the day.  So surely that meal should be of the highest possible quality.

Interestingly enough Tayside Contracts managing director Ian Waddell states that, “75% of beef in Tayside schools is Scottish”, so why then can the same not be said regarding poultry?

In light of the recent horsemeat scandal, and the revelation that prisoners are eating better quality food than our schoolchildren, questions must be asked in regard to what our kids are eating while visiting schools cafeterias.

Governments constantly encourage healthy eating and choice.

So why should our kids not be offered the same choice?

Just ask Weller and Max what their choice is - fresh locally produced chicken (with rice) every time.

 

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