Australian Fair Food Forum

Countering menu fraud

There’s been a fair bit of media attention about menu fraud lately (where restaurants claim on their menus to be using a local fair food producer but in fact aren’t). I was interested to see this article from the States about an attempt to evaluate restaurant claims of localness, sustainability etc and to give them a ‘good food’ ranking.

It’s a really good read - they mention a few other interesting studies/initiatives in the works including one looking at the economic impact of restaurant sourcing on local food economies.

Thanks for sharing @Jen!

Myself and Patrick from Local Food Loop are actually launching a campaign which highlights eateries that are purchasing from local ethical producers. Our hope is to inspire more chefs to use local food in their menus and communicate to people where they can dine out when looking for local food.

This campaign will be called ‘Melbourne Eats Local’, and will include an interactive map and a series of events that bring together people in the food chain, including farmers, chefs and eaters. Would love to speak to you more about it at some point! :slight_smile:

Sounds great @chefbenmac!

When we did the Know Your Foodbowl project back at the Food Alliance we had hoped to put together a list of all the restaurants using local produce. We sent interns out following up with as many restaurants as possible who made claims about ‘local, seasonal produce’. At each place they asked about what sources the restaurants were using, how they defined seasonal, local etc. Once we’d canvassed a heap of restaurants we put aside the idea of creating the list because it turned out that pretty much none of them were in fact using local or seasonal produce, or they might be using one local, seasonal item and that was about it.

This was in about 2014, so hopefully things may have improved, but it would be interesting to hear.

Hi Jen, have you seen the app called Fair Food Forager (www.fairfoodforager.com).
It is an Australian app that aims to recognize food businesses (e.g. cafes, retailers etc) supporting a variety of areas that relate to what you are talking about. Our local food network is also looking at something similar you are talking about as well. The app is one idea, but we are looking at working more closely with the tourism sector (as their focus is to build good local products in the first instance - aiming to get food businesses into a position to market themselves). I am also keeping in the loop with our local council’s Environmental Health team who are interesting in looking at developing a local food rewards program. It would be great to keep in touch with you about all this!