Dishing out failing food standards - comparing Government Buying Standards to those of McDonald's

This report compares 'Government Buying Standards' (which apply to food served in government departments, parts of the military and state-funded prisons) to the environmental and ethical standards of food served at McDonald's, the global fast food giant, and finds that Government food standards are worse than McDonald's.


This research report (published November 2011) finds that Government Buying Standards are weaker than the environmental and ethical standards of the global fast food giant McDonald's. They therefore fail to prevent Government from using our taxes to buy food that pollutes the environment, undermines animal welfare and damages the livelihoods of farmers in poor countries. It is time for Government Buying Standards to at least match, and then rapidly exceed standards already routine for McDonald’s.

In June 2011, the Government introduced new compulsory ‘Government Buying Standards’ (GBS) for food bought by public sector institutions in central government. These standards cover all government departments, state-funded prisons and parts of the armed forces. Whilst mandantory standards are welcome, they are do not adequately address health and sustainability issues. In addition, Government Buying Standards do not apply to hospital food, which still does not have to meet any compulsory standards apart from basic food safety.

In 2012, Sustain launched the Campaign for Better Hospital Food. Please get involved to help win compulsory health and sustainability standards for food served in hospitals!

Report contents

1. Government Buying Standards (GBS)

2. How GBS compare to food served by McDonald’s

  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Milk
  • Fairly traded coffee
  • UK production standards

3. Conclusion 


16/11/2011
Good Food for Our Money Campaign

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