Council thanks local food suppliers for stepping up to the plate
Posted on 21 Apr 2020
North Ayrshire Council has praised local food suppliers for stepping up to the plate to ensure a healthy stock of fresh produce is available for residents during the crisis.
Over 4,000 food parcels are being distributed each week – 2,300 for those families in receipt of free school meals and/or school clothing grant and a further 1,935 community packs for the most vulnerable residents.
Between 75-80 per cent of each pack is made up of fresh produce thanks to the efforts of many Ayrshire and wider Scottish suppliers.
Councillor Jim Montgomerie, Cabinet Member for Place, said: “We are very grateful to our suppliers for their support and quick reaction to the huge increase in the volume of food required during these unprecedented times.
“It’s thanks to local suppliers such as Carruthers, Muller Dairies, Fergusons Bakers, Pollok Williamson, Campbell Bros and Corrie Mains who have each been a lifeline, despite reductions in their own capacity and supply chain. Thanks also goes to GMC in Irvine who have provided us with the necessary packaging to allow us to get the food packs out to our communities.
“I have been out daily with our staff and volunteers delivering these packs and have seen first-hand how thankful our residents are to receive them.
“We would like to wholeheartedly thank our suppliers for their continued support. We hope that in turn, we are going some way to assist them during this tough economical period.”
Ensuring proper food hygiene standards is another key priority for the teams producing the parcels.
Chilled foods are carefully stored and only removed from refrigerators at the last moment before going out for delivery. Random checks are also being carried out to ensure items are at a safe temperature.
But food hygiene isn’t just a factor for the teams producing the free food packs. All food establishments in North Ayrshire currently operating still have to adhere to the usual hygiene standards during the pandemic.
The Council’s Environmental Health team works closely with a variety of businesses including takeaways, supermarkets and local stores to ensure food is being handled, stored and produced hygienically and in compliance with legal requirements, and is therefore safe to eat.
Scott McKenzie, Senior Manager for Protective Services, said: “Although we are in the midst of a global crisis, we want to assure residents that the food supply chain in North Ayrshire is well regulated thanks to the work of our Environmental Health team.
“Residents should feel confident when they are purchasing local food – whether it’s fresh ingredients or ready-made meals – that it continues to meet national food hygiene and safety standards.
“If residents have any concerns regarding food safety, we encourage them to get in touch with Environmental Health by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org”
Local businesses can also contact the team via the email address above if they need advice on food law compliance or assistance with changes to their business brought about by the crisis, such as providing takeaway food instead of sit-in meals.