I know I shouldn’t be amazed any more, but the hypocrisy surrounding various government departments is astounding. Every year millions of pounds are spent promoting Britain, British meat, diary products and other related produce. Whole sections of the tourist industry are geared up to advertise the message that Britain is a pretty fine place to eat and drink. Sadly, the message has not reached the desks of certain Whitehall mandarins.
Figures recently outlined by the Times show that just under 50% of all food served in hospitals and public institutions comes from aboard. Prisoners get no fruit of British origin, and those fed by the NHS only 5%.
Who would be a British chicken? Whilst the public demand nearly 100% British meat, no home grown poultry bought by Whitehall (64%) goes to prisons. As for other food products, well forget it. Even the good old British bacon buttie comes from abroad!
Sadly, whilst Mr Benn phones supermarkets asking them to buy from British farmers and Gordon Brown trawls the phrase book for a British motto, good old Whitehall is feeding troops on low grade meat and flying apples half way across the world with big carbon boots on.
To make matters worse, the detailed breakdown shows that £1.8 billion a year is spent on meat, poultry, vegetables, potatoes and fruit for civil servants and ministers across the Government. So whilst the rest of us support the countries food industries, Whitehall departments spend millions on foreign produce, most of which could be sourced from this country.
Not very good practise is it?