FARMING leaders have met with Ceredigion council to raise concerns after the council was accused of only serving non-dairy smoothies from its stand at the National Eisteddfod.
NFU Cymru says it has met with Ceredigion County Council to raise its concerns over the local authority’s non-dairy smoothie offering on the maes at this week’s National Eisteddfod in Tregaron, which has since been changed following discussions.
Members of the union voiced their concerns that Ceredigion County Council had initially elected to offer only oat smoothies on its Pentref Ceredigion stand at the Eisteddfod, which this year is being hosted on a dairy farm in Tregaron.
NFU Cymru has written to the Chief Executive of Ceredigion County Council and has met with representatives of the local authority in attendance at Y Maes to discuss the issue.
The union is encouraged that its members’ concerns have been acknowledged and that Ceredigion County Council is now offering visitors to its Pentref Ceredigion stand a choice of dairy and non-dairy options.
NFU Cymru President Aled Jones said: “The National Eisteddfod is a celebration of Wales’ language, culture and heritage and agriculture is an integral part of the fabric of rural communities in Wales.
“We were extremely disappointed to learn that Ceredigion County Council was only offering children visiting its Pentref Ceredigion stand oat drink smoothies.
“While we of course acknowledge that it is important for the authority to provide a variety of options to cater for children with specific dietary requirements or those who do not wish to drink milk for other reasons, it is regrettable that the council has neglected to offer children the opportunity to drink smoothies made with delicious and nutritious locally produced dairy milk, which provides a great source of protein, calcium, Vitamin B and other beneficial nutrients. The omission of a smoothie made with dairy milk is all the more perplexing given that this year’s National Eisteddfod is being hosted on a prominent dairy farm in the heart of a rural community.
“We are, however, pleased that the concerns of farmers and other Eisteddfod visitors have been heeded and that the council will now be offering children the option to have fresh, healthy and wholesome cow’s milk in their smoothies during the rest of the event. It is unfortunate that this initial and unfortunate oversight has detracted from the Pentref Ceredigion stand’s broader showcase of local produce, cookery demonstrations and rural life.
“NFU Cymru looks forward to a follow-up meeting with the council after the National Eisteddfod to discuss other issues of importance to the local farming community, including the council’s food procurement policies, planning issues and the impact of future policy on Ceredigion’s farmers.”
In response, a spokesperson for Ceredigion County Council said: “The council has daily cooking demonstrations at the National Eisteddfod focusing on produce from various areas across the county, and offering tea to the public using a local dairy company, Llaeth Llanfair.
“There is also a range of opportunities for children, young people and families to keep fit and participate safely in inclusive and varied activities on the Maes.
“The smoothie bikes are an outdoor activity that requires the ingredients to be a product that can be kept out of the fridge for a while.
“In addition, the council needs to ensure inclusive provisions for children with allergies/intolerances, and this is done by offering drinks options that include cow’s milk, oat drinks, orange juice and water.
“The decision was taken following the advice of the council’s internal health and safety service due to the risk of children suffering an anaphylactic shock if they happen to have any food allergies.
“All drink options are now available to those who wish to participate on the smoothie bike activity.”
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