Govt. response to Free Mail for troops on Ops petition

The Government is pleased to be able to respond positively to this petition, noting that since the petition was raised in July 2007 the substantive issue requesting free postage for parcels to Service personnel on operations in Afghanistan and Iraq has been addressed. Families and friends now have the facility to send packets of up to 2 Kg in weight to named service personnel for free. Details of the free mail service are available at Post Office counters or at the British Forces Post Office website:

The petition also requested an increase to a 3 Kg weight limit for packages. Following careful analysis of the capacity of the postal supply chain out to operational theatres it was concluded that a 2 Kg limit, which conforms to a mail industry standard, is the most practical weight for packages which the system could realistically support without becoming overloaded. There is though, no constraint on the number of packets that families and friends can send.

Turning to the point about food, we place the utmost importance on ensuring our troops are properly fed on operations, and indeed throughout the world. Huge effort goes into nutritional analysis, designing menus, delivering food stocks and preparing food to ensure our men and women have all the nutrition they need to carry out their demanding and important tasks. There are 10 General Purpose menus available in the 24 hour Operational Ration Packs (ORP), and plans are underway to increase this number to 14. There are also five Halal, five Sikh/Hindu and five Kosher/Vegetarian variants. There are also five ‘hot climate’ supplements issued with every box of 24 hour packs. There is also a 10 Man ORP variant available. The majority of remote operating locations receive supplies of fresh food at least once a week, and over 1 million kilos of fresh fruit and vegetables have been delivered to Afghanistan in the last 12 months under UK contracts alone. Royal Logistics Corps Chefs have now been deployed to all of the Forward Operating Bases, and provide cooked meals for personnel using ORPs and fresh food supplies. Meals in the larger bases are generally provided from a three to four week multiple choice menu cycle. All chefs supporting the British Armed Forces on operations take great pride in providing a varied and high quality menu. Personal choice is taken into account when planning menu cycles and the chefs are very responsive to customer feedback.

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