Good news from Shepherds Markets, who manage the Monday Food Market at St James’s Church. In a Food for Health award scheme run by Tower Hamlets Council and NHS Tower Hamlets, all stallholders who participated achieved the award.
The scheme rewards food businesses who offer healthy options in their menus and meet the highest food hygiene standards.
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It is difficult for a mobile unit, such as a stallholder, to achieve the award due to the limited menu that can be offered at a market, particularly those serving meat. To achieve the award stallholders demonstrated:
- They have a sound food safety management system in operation. All stallholders received 4 or 5 stars (5 being the highest)
- Ingredients are fresh and sourced locally, except for Duck Comfit, Argentinian Steak and Chorizo, who must maintain their authenticity so their cuisine is not compromised
- No product considered bad for health is used, e.g. saturated or hydrogenated oil (contributory factors to heart disease). Herbs are used for seasoning instead of salt (too much salt causes high blood pressure).
- Stallholders serving meat, e.g. chorizo, burgers and steak had to demonstrate that they are grilling their product so as to reduce fat content. They also had to show that they were offering healthier choice of breads, e.g. wholemeal, and a variety of salads
- They had to show that each meal served had the right balance of vegetables, starch and protein, with the stallholders serving vegetable proteins, e.g. pulses, scoring the highest points
- They had to show that their product would help reduce obesity
- The stallholders who achieved gold level had to demonstrate that they had on offer a choice of foods which included at least one type of oily fish or one type of pulse
All stallholders attended a workshop on nutrition conducted by an NHS nutritionist. Stallholders, as a whole, achieved 4 gold, 6 silver and the rest bronze.