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Agriculture and Food

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN 5191, tabled on 21 May 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that (a) Government buying standards for food are in line with the UK’s targets for net zero emissions and (b) top-quality British farmers and producers can benefit from public sector contracts.

Answered on

1 June 2021

The Government will always champion greater consumption of our excellent British food and drink, including from British farmers and local producers. The Government Buying Standards for Food (GBSF) encourages the procurement of UK seasonal and locally produced food.

Defra is launching a public consultation this summer to review the GBSF. We want to enhance the GBSF in line with recent Government policy initiatives around promoting local produce, social value and environment and resource management.

The consultation will seek views as to how public sector food procurement can assist the Government in achieving net zero carbon emissions. This will include proposals for procuring from more sustainable farming systems, as well as ensuring caterers use energy efficient equipment and move away from food waste management to waste reduction.

We will also be seeking views on how the standards could be used to promote even greater uptake of locally produced food by public procurers and their suppliers.

In addition, Defra is working closely with the Crown Commercial Service to develop the Future Food Framework in the South West region. The trial will create significant new opportunities for our farmers and local producers to supply regional public sector bodies.