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Food Industry

Dáil Éireann Debate, Wednesday - 21 April 2021

Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Questions (2489)

Matt Carthy


2489. Deputy Matt Carthy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his plans to examine the feasibility of creating organic-only canteens and food provision within public services such as hospitals as proposed by the European Commission; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19108/21]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

I welcome the proposals contained in the European Commission's Organic Action Plan to integrate organic produce into our food service through public procurement within our canteen services across the public sector.

An overarching action contained in the Strategy for the Development of the Organic Sector 2019 - 2025 is to develop a pilot project under public procurement to demonstrate advantages of the use of organic food and this is currently under consideration.

I am fully committed to the further development of the organic sector. Before we embark on a major organic public procurement initiative, however, I believe we need to ensure continuity of supply and develop the critical mass required to meet such demand.

The reopening of the Organic Farming Scheme, which my colleague Minister of State Hackett announced last month, is targeted at areas currently in deficit. This, I believe, will assist in developing a critical mass of nationally produced organic food, which is critical for the success of a meaningful organic procurement process within our public service.

While organic farming falls within the remit of my Department, green public procurement is a matter for the wider public sector which has a responsibility to promote green procurement, in order to support Ireland’s environmental and wider sustainable development objectives.

The Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications continuously encourages public procurement officers to incorporate green criteria into their tender processes using the EPA Green Procurement Guidance which promotes the use of organic products in the food and catering services contract area. The current EPA Green Procurement Guidance was prepared in 2014 and the EPA have been revising and updating same. A finalised revised Procurement Guidance document is expected to be published this year.