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Healthy Eating Award
Rochford District Council is inviting food businesses to take part in an Essex-wide healthy eating initiative. The "Essex Healthylife 'Healthy Eating' Award" scheme has been devised by all 14 Essex Local Authorities, in partnership with the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, and is being offered to schools and businesses now.
Councillor Michael Stark, Executive Member for Environment, said that "poor diet and obesity has become very common in England. It causes major health problems, reduces life expectancy, impacts on the economy and can prevent people from enjoying some aspects of their lives. Award schemes like this one encourage and enable people at a local level to improve their diet, and consequently their health".
The awards are likely to be suitable for catering businesses of all descriptions restaurants, cafes, sandwich bars, takeaways, etc. Unfortunately they will not be suitable for other types of food businesses, e.g. retailers (newsagents, supermarkets, butchers, fishmongers).
Applying for and obtaining an award is free and can offer the following benefits to participating businesses:
- Public recognition for achieving the award;
- Association with the increasingly recognised Healthylife "Healthy Eating" brand;
- An enhanced image as a responsible, health conscious business, giving increased customer satisfaction;
- Improved knowledge of healthier food and catering practices to use in improving the business.
There are two different types of award Gold and Silver. In general the Gold award is more prescriptive but the amount of effort required to obtain an award will depend upon the business' current cooking methods and menu. Both awards require the business to have a documented food safety management system ("Safer Food Better Business" is sufficient), to have good standards of food hygiene at the premises and a commitment to "healthy nutrition" such as:
- Minimising levels of fats and oils used.
- Minimising salt usage.
- Minimising sugar usage.
- Making fruit and vegetables available.
- Making starchy foods the main part of most meals.
In addition, the silver award requires at least one third of the menu to be clearly described as "healthy eating" and the gold award at least 50%.
Once an award has been obtained re-assessments are likely to be made approximately every 12-18 months.
Detailed guidance on the application process, together with "self-assessment" checklists and other materials are available from Environmental Health Officers at Rochford District Council.
Please contact them on 01702 318111 and they will arrange to visit your business and discuss the requirements and application process with you.