SCOTTISH Borders Council has been given high praise for its Primary School meals by MSP Mairi Gougeon, Minister for Rural Affairs and the Natural Environment in a ceremony at St Ronan's Primary School.

The Bronze Food for Life Served Here award was given to the local authority for its success in providing Borders youngsters with quality meals made with locally sourced ingredients, including fresh fruit and vegetables, free range eggs and high-welfare meat.

The award was issued to SBC catering staff at St Ronan's Primary School today (March 4) where Ms Gougeon also helped serve pupils their meals as well as meeting representatives from George Carruthers & Sons and Campbell Brothers, who provide a selection of the produce used by the council's primary schools.

Alex Fairfull, Head Buyer at George Carruthers & Sons, said: “George Carruthers & Sons Ltd are delighted to supply local authorities with fresh fruit and vegetables.

"It is a delight to be working with the Food for Life Scotland Programme, assisting Scottish Borders Council in achieving their Bronze award.

“Congratulations to Scottish Borders and Food for Life team for all their hard work that went into this award.”

Colin Dyer of Campbell Brothers, added: “‘Campbell Brothers have been working with Scottish meat producers and Scottish caterers for over 100 years, and are pleased that our products assist Scottish Borders Council and other local authorities to meet the Soil Association’s standards, and demonstrate our commitment to providing the best of fully traceable & nutritious meat.”

SBC is only the fourteenth local authority in Scotland to be given a Food For Life Served Here award, serving 5,500 award-winning meals across 62 schools.

Minister for Rural Affairs and the Natural Environment Mairi Gougeon said: “I am delighted that Scottish Borders Council has achieved Food for Life Served Here status within its primary schools, the 14th local authority in Scotland to do so.

“The Food for Life programme has made a big difference to the lives of young people across the country by guaranteeing that school children can access delicious, healthy and sustainable food that’s been grown, sourced and produced in Scotland.

“It also benefits local food producers in the Borders and across Scotland by protecting jobs and supporting local farmers, something that has a positive impact on the wider local economy. I strongly encourage other local authorities to consider taking part.”

Also present at the school was councillor Carol Hamilton (Con), Executive Member for Children and Young People. She said: “I am delighted that catering staff, schools and Scottish Borders Council have been recognised with this Food for Life Served Here Award.

“We are committed to providing quality, healthy and sustainable meals for our schoolchildren, which involves sourcing local products from Scottish food producers such as local farmers wherever possible.

“This award is testament to catering staff across the Borders who work hard to provide thousands of freshly prepared meals every day in our schools.”

The awards are run by the Soil Association Scotland, a charity who work towards sustainable food and farming.

A Bronze award is given to a school when at least 75 percent of their dishes are freshly prepared, menus provide for all cultural and dietary needs, and all meals comply with national standards.