The Government has launched a proposal to make 10% of all the food it procures organic.
The recommendation, highlighted by Minister of State Pippa Hackett, is included within the draft green public procurement strategy and action plan 2023-2027, now open for public consultation.
Under the proposal, 10% of all the food consumed in prisons, schools, hospitals and Government and local authority buildings would have to be certified organic.
At least 10% of the food at State agencies, such Bord Bia and Teagasc, would also have to be organic.
Minister Hackett had first outlined her ambition for such a move by the Government to the Irish Farmers Journal at the National Ploughing Championships and the proposal has now been progressed, with a 10% target.
Minister Hackett said she worked with her Green Party colleague Minister of State for Public Procurement Ossian Smyth to get Government departments and State agencies purchasing more organic and seasonal food and that it is through this work that the proposal has come about.
“The draft green public procurement strategy demonstrates this Government’s commitment to responsible consumption and production. Almost 700,000t of food is wasted in Ireland every year and, globally, food waste contributes 8% to 10% of greenhouse gas emissions.
“Food and beverage can account for up to a third of the cost of delivering meals, so it’s key that we reduce food waste in public procurement, which will in turn deliver significant savings that will allow us to purchase greater amounts of organic food,” she explained.
Minister Hackett encouraged farmers and processors to reply to the public consultation and share their views on how Government can marry the 10% organic requirement with the push for more seasonality in the food that public bodies procure.
“There will be times of the year that we can provide organic food more readily and in much greater supply and those months might well see much more than 10% organic food in canteens.
“Equally there will of course be months when supply will be a bit lower. The key will be to hit the 10% figure across the course of the year and I am really looking forward to seeing our State agencies and Government departments offer nutritious, tasty organic food, produced in a way that delivers for climate, biodiversity and water quality,” she said.