Page last updated at 15:06 GMT, Friday, 11 July 2008 16:06 UK

Concern at schools meals changes

school meals (generic)
The county council said it would be monitoring the situation

Changes to the 1.5m Anglesey school meals contract have prompted complaints from kitchen staff and local suppliers.

They fear jobs will be lost if the new contractors do not use local produce.

But the council's head of education said the new contract had been awarded after a detailed selection process, and the new contractor Eden said it planned to use some local suppliers.

Anglesey's school dinners used to be provided by Gwynedd Provider Services, (GPS), run by Gwynedd council.

"I'm disappointed that they've gone out of the area to find a company to run the school meals service", Janet Hughes, the school cook at Ysgol Esceifiog primary school in Gaerwen told BBC Radio Cymru's Taro'r Post programme.

"I'm concerned that we won't be able to use locally-produced food and what effect it will ultimately have on our jobs," she added.

The changes come into effect when the new school year begins in September.

We will want to know what the children think, monitoring will be all-important
Gwyn Parry, head of education, Anglesey council

Gwyneth Evans of Gwynedd-based Harlech food suppliers said the company was facing job cuts.

"There are 24 people working here now and the school meals work is a third of what we do," she said.

Anglesey head of education Gwyn Parry said the process to find a new school meals provider had been a detailed one.

He said GPS pulled out of the tendering process at a fairly early stage, stating it was unhappy at the changes to the tendering system.

'Local support'

"The quality of the food and service has been at the forefront of the re-tendering process and this will be monitored regularly.

"We will want to know what the children think, monitoring will be all-important," Mr Parry added.

A spokesman for Gwynedd council confirmed that GPS had pulled out of the re-tendering process "because of changes by Anglesey council to the detail of the tender".

New contractor Eden food service said in a statement: "It is our priority to support local suppliers in Anglesey and thereafter support local producers throughout Wales.

"A number of suppliers have already made contact with us and we are currently in discussions with them."

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