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Last Updated: Saturday, 29 July 2006, 10:05 GMT 11:05 UK
Healthy eating 'tsar' appointed
Healthy eating and a healthier economy could be on the menu in the North East of England with the appointment of a Food Procurement Co-ordinator.

The newly created post will encourage public sector caterers to increase the amount of local fresh food they use.

Producers will also be helped to overcome any difficulties with supply and delivery.

The public sector, including schools, councils, hospitals and prisons, spends 150m a year on food in the north east.

'Raise standards'

Bill Kirkup, 41, of Shotley Bridge in County Durham is the new co-ordinator.

He previously headed a five-year project, North East Land Links (Nell), funded by the Countryside Agency, which produced a comprehensive report on local food procurement in the region.

He said: "Nell has already carried out a lot of research and developed links between government departments, local authorities, schools and hospitals.

"I'll be aiming to take this work forward, encouraging public sector buyers and caterers to take a good look at the way they currently do things and work with us to bring about improvements in sustainable purchasing.

"It's very much about partnership. I'll be hoping to bring together the different groups from buyers to food producers, to develop agreed criteria that will raise standards and enable local producers to bid for contracts successfully, with mutual benefits for all."


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