NEW FIGURES released for Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight have shown show a 'dramatically increased' proportion of Scottish meat being served in West Lothian Council's school meals.

No less than 95% of the fresh butcher meat – and 88% of all meat – served in West Lothian’s primary schools is now sourced from Scotland, after the council achieved the Soil Association’s 'Food for Life Served Here' Bronze award for their school meals last November.

To achieve that award, local authorities must commit to serving only meat from farms that satisfy UK animal welfare standards. As part of its effort to comply with that stipulation, 95% of the fresh butcher meat that West Lothian Council source from Linlithgow-based Campbell’s Prime Meats is now Scotch Beef PGI, Scotch Lamb PGI and Specially Selected Pork – brands underpinned by whole chain assurance guaranteeing local provenance, the highest standards of production and animal welfare.

The Food for Life Scotland programme has been run by Soil Association Scotland since 2008 and supported by the Scottish Government since 2012, with the aim of supporting councils to get more Scottish food onto school dinner plates and serve healthy, sustainable meals. The 'Food for Life Served Here' award recognises councils that are serving school meals made from fresh ingredients, using free-range eggs and high-welfare meat, and free from genetically modified ingredients and undesirable additives.

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said: “This is great news. The provision of fresh, local, sustainable produce such as quality assured, lean and red Scottish meat is not only an important part of a child’s diet, but also beneficial to our farmers, and to the environment – by reducing the miles that food has to travel from ‘farm to fork’ and therefore reducing emissions. I hope that others follow West Lothian Council’s lead, and adopt the Food for Life programme in their area.”

WLC executive councillor Tom Conn said: “Being part of FFL helps our children to have a healthier and more sustainable diet, it also delivers clear benefits for the local economy. West Lothian food producers can be proud that their fresh products are ending up on the dinner plates of local school children, which is good news for everyone.”

Speaking from Campbell’s Prime Meats, Alan Williamson said: “We are immensely proud to be part of the Food for Life Scotland programme. A lot of our workforce live locally with children in West Lothian schools, so it is a project that is very close to home.

“We have worked with Scotch Beef PGI, Scotch Lamb PGI and Specially Selected Pork for a long time and know the high standards for welfare and traceability the brands bring. It gives us a great sense of pride being able to provide the children in the community with these excellent quality products.”

Quality Meat Scotland chair Kate Rowell welcomed the news: “This is a great vote of confidence in the hard work by Scottish farmers to produce products which offer world-leading levels of traceability and welfare standards. We look forward to other Scottish local authorities seizing the opportunity to increase their Scotch Beef PGI, Scotch Lamb PGI and Specially Selected Pork offerings in order to provide the best possible local, fresh red meat for the next generation.”