TWO NEW standards to encourage healthier eating are being proposed for the bronze Catering Mark.
The Soil Association, which runs the unique scheme to recognise best practice in the catering industry, has opened a public consultation on proposals to limit the use of salt and make healthier drinks more widely available, in line with public health guidance.
The two proposed new standards are:
- Salt is not available after cooking (except on request), staff are trained in salt reduction and recipes are designed to minimise salt use.
- Healthier drinks are promoted and the availability of sugary and artificially sweetened drinks is limited.
The consultation is available online HERE.
It is open until Monday 6 October 2014 and all caterers, food businesses, NGOs, nutritionists, public health professionals and members of the public are invited to have their say. These proposals are most relevant to caterers in universities, workplaces, visitor attractions and restaurants.
Both proposed new standards are supported by detailed guidance for caterers to show how they are meeting them, which is available on the Soil Association’s website. Limiting the use of salt includes removing salt from tables, changing recipes to make use of healthier natural flavours and providing staff education about ingredients which may be high in salt.
The proposed new standard to encourage people to choose healthier drinks would call for healthier drinks such as milk and water to be placed at eye level in display cabinets. Portion sizes of sugary and artificially sweetened drinks would be limited to 330ml. The Soil Association is also consulting on a limit to the portion size of pure fruit juices and smoothies.
The consultation asks for views on the proposed new standards and offers caterers an opportunity to say how long it would take to fully meet the requirements. The findings will be considered by the independent Catering Mark Standards Committee at its autumn meeting. Any resulting changes will be announced in winter 2015, with sufficient time allowed for all existing Catering Mark holders to adapt to any new standards, in line with the consultation responses.
Mike Bond, Catering Mark Manager said: “The Catering Mark Standards offer a framework to recognise and reward caterers who serve fresh, healthier meals. Our independent Standards Committee - made up of a wide range of industry experts - works to ensure that the Catering Mark Standards address public health priorities and ensure food is fresh, better for animal welfare and local economies.”