Publication - FOI/EIR release

Coordination and distribution of the Standard Grocery Pack: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Published:
10 Jun 2020
Coordination and distribution of the Standard Grocery Pack: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/202000030117
Date received: 20 Apr 2020
Date responded: 4 Jun 2020
Information requested
  1. I require full details of who is responsible for the coordination and distribution of the "Standard Grocery Pack" within the Scottish Dewvolved Administration?  For the avoidance of doubt, and to prevent unecessary clarification by Civil Servants, I seek the person's job description and not their personal details.  I already pressume that Mr Bean, or someone similar, must have been given this position;
     
  2. Taking into consideration the "Eatwell Guide", which is the nutritional guide used by the UK and all Devolved Administration throughout the UK, why has the "Standard Grocery Pack", which is supplied to those who have been instructed to shield by the Chief Medical Officer of the Scottish Devoled Administration, ignored this guide?  For the avoidance of doubt, the "Eatwell Guide" states "these foods are good sources of protein, vitamins and minerals. Pulses, such as beans, peas and lentils, are good alternatives to meat because they're lower in fat and higher in fibre and protein, too.  You should choose lean cuts of meat and mince, and eat less red and processed meat like bacon, ham and sausages.  Aim for at least 2 portions of fish every week, 1 of which should be oily, such as salmon or mackerel."  I require details on "why these items have not been included in the Standard Grocery Pack" since they are a basic necessity for a healthy diet?  Is the Scottish Devolved Administration even aware that a healthy diet is vital to maintain a healthy immune system, and which is critical in combating covid-19?;
     
  3. I require full details of who, or what Department, prepared the ingredients for the "Standard Grocery Pack".  For the avoidance of doubt, I require the persons position withn the Scottish Devolved Administration (head of department, manager etc);
     
  4. Full details of why the Scottish Devolved Administration are placing the most vulnerable people in great danger of serious illness and death from covid-19 by there very poor calorific value "Standard Grocery Pack".  For the avoidance of doubt, the "Standard Grocery Pack" has a maximum calorific value of 6816, yet the weekly calory intake for an adult male is 17,500 (2500 calories daily), and 14,000 for an adult Female (200 calories daily).  Now this equates to a weekly shortfall of 10,684 for an aduly Male and 7184 for an adult Female.  I require full details on who took the decision to ignore the "Eatwell Guide" and copies of minutes of meetings where this decision was taken.  As I am of the opinion that the very poor calorific content of the "Standard Grocery Pack" is unlawfull, I require copies of any documents where and the Scottish Devolved Administration made the determination that the "Standard Grocery Pack" met the basic nutritional value that would be expected under the Human Rights Act 1998.  If no such determination was taken, the Scottish Devolved Administration should make this point very clear;
     
  5. I require details of at what level of the Scottish Devolved Administration were these decisions taken for the "Standard Grocery Pack".  For the avoidance of doubt, was the First Minister, the Chief Medical Officer, the Deputy First Minister, and Health Secretary aware of the contents of the "Standard Grocery Pack"?
Response

I enclose a copy of most of the information you requested. While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some the information you have requested because exemption 38(1)(b): Personal Data relating to a third party applies to that information. The reason why this exemption applies is explained in the Annex to this letter.

Question 1, you asked:
“I require full details of who is responsible for the coordination and distribution of the "Standard Grocery Pack" within the Scottish Dewvolved Administration? For the avoidance of doubt, and to prevent unecessary clarification by Civil Servants, I seek the person's job description and not their personal details. I already pressume that Mr Bean, or someone similar, must have been given this position.”
Answer 1:
Day-to-day management and development of the work to deliver grocery boxes to the shielded population rests with a member of the Scottish Government’s Good Food Nation Team. Oversight of the work is provided by the Deputy Director for Food and Drink Division.

Question 2, you asked:
“Taking into consideration the "Eatwell Guide", which is the nutritional guide used by the UK and all Devolved Administration throughout the UK, why has the "Standard Grocery Pack", which is supplied to those who have been instructed to shield by the Chief Medical Officer of the Scottish Devoled Administration, ignored this guide? For the avoidance of doubt, the "Eatwell Guide" states "these foods are good sources of protein, vitamins and minerals. Pulses, such as beans, peas and lentils, are good alternatives to meat because they're lower in fat and higher in fibre and protein, too. You should choose lean cuts of meat and mince, and eat less red and processed meat like bacon, ham and sausages. Aim for at least 2 portions of fish every week, 1 of which should be oily, such as salmon or mackerel."
I require details on "why these items have not been included in the Standard Grocery Pack" since they are a basic necessity for a healthy diet? Is the Scottish Devolved Administration even aware that a healthy diet is vital to maintain a healthy immune system, and which is critical in combating covid-19?”

Answer 2:
The boxes provide a pragmatic approach to the provision of groceries to shielded individuals during a national emergency. From a nutritional perspective, the contents of the boxes are broadly in line with the “Eatwell Guide” recommendations. They provide bread, cereals, pasta and rice to base meals around; sufficient fruit and vegetables to provide five portions of fruit and vegetables each day; a small amount of dairy; sources of protein; and limited discretionary foods. However, we appreciate that the standardised nature of the boxes and the lack of additional chilled items means the contents may not be enough for some people. Individuals are therefore advised, where necessary, to contact their local authority for additional support with food delivery. Additionally, they can now register to make use of the priority online supermarket delivery service which has been offered to those in the shielded group.

Question 3, you asked:
“I require full details of who, or what Department, prepared the ingredients for the "Standard Grocery Pack". For the avoidance of doubt, I require the persons position withn the Scottish Devolved Administration (head of department, manager etc).”

Answer 3:
The content of the boxes was originally prepared by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which is responsible for the grocery box arrangements for England.
Scotland followed suit and Scottish Ministers were advised of the box contents. Oversight was provided by the Deputy Director for Food and Drink Division.

Question 4, you asked:
“Full details of why the Scottish Devolved Administration are placing the most vulnerable people in great danger of serious illness and death from covid-19 by there very poor calorific value "Standard Grocery Pack". For the avoidance of doubt, the "Standard Grocery Pack" has a maximum calorific value of 6816, yet the weekly calory intake for an adult male is 17,500 (2500 calories daily), and 14,000 for an adult Female (200 calories daily). Now this equates to a weekly shortfall of 10,684 for an aduly Male and 7184 for an adult Female.”

Answer 4:
Please see the answer to question 2.

Question 5, you asked:
“I require full details on who took the decision to ignore the "Eatwell Guide" and copies of minutes of meetings where this decision was taken. As I am of the opinion that the very poor calorific content of the "Standard Grocery Pack" is unlawfull.”

Answer 5:
Please see the answer to question 3.

Question 6, you asked:
“I require copies of any documents where and the Scottish Devolved Administration made the determination that the "Standard Grocery Pack" met the basic nutritional value that would be expected under the Human Rights Act 1998. If no such determination was taken, the Scottish Devolved Administration should make this point very clear.”

Answer 6:
Please find attached, copies of emails, in which the content of the grocery box was agreed.

Question 7, you asked:
“I require details of at what level of the Scottish Devolved Administration were these decisions taken for the "Standard Grocery Pack". For the avoidance of doubt, was the First Minister, the Chief Medical Officer, the Deputy First Minister, and Health Secretary aware of the contents of the "Standard Grocery Pack"?”

Answer 7:
The First Minister, Deputy First Minister and the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport were advised of the proposed content of the grocery boxes that were to be delivered to people in the shielded group.

ANNEX - REASONS FOR NOT PROVIDING INFORMATION
An exemption applies
Section 38(1)(b) – applicant has asked for personal data of a third party. An exemption under section s.38(1)(b) of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested because it is the personal data of a third party, ie names and contact details of individuals, and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Article 5(1) of the General Data Protection Regulation and in section 34(1) of the Data Protection Act 2018. This exemption is not subject to the ‘public interest test’, so we are not required to consider if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption

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