THE service which provides school meals in Hampshire has been recognised for its commitment to using high-welfare pork.

HC3S, Hampshire County Council’s catering service, has received the Good Pig award from Compassion in World Farming, for the use of pork and pork products that meet strict animal welfare criteria.

The accolade recognises HC3S’s commitment to ensuring only high-welfare pork is purchased, exclusively using pigs that are reared in better living conditions so that they have a longer and healthier lifespan.

So far this year, Hampshire’s school meals have used approximately 900,000 slices of 60g lean pork loin, 2,250,000 pork chipolata sausages and 200,000 pork sausages, made with 70 per cent lean meat.

All sausages are free from any of the 70 plus additives as recommended by the Hyperactive Children’s Support Group. From September this year, they will be produced using Freedom Foods pig meat, which is the RSPCA’s farm animal welfare scheme.

The Good Pig award is the third time HC3S has been recognised by Compassion in World Farming.

In 2011, it was awarded the Good Chicken award, and in 2008 the service picked up a Good Egg award, for using local free-range eggs in its meals.

Councillor Roy Perry, leader of Hampshire County Council, said: “This latest award is a further example of Hampshire’s commitment to quality school meals. It demonstrates to parents that meals are not only about providing delicious, healthy food to children, but that we also take great care in sourcing our high quality ingredients, particularly with regard to animal welfare and sustainability.”

School dinners are enjoyed by more than 40,000 primary schoolchildren each day in Hampshire, costing £2 for a hot, two-course meal – the price of which has been frozen by the council for six years in a row.