No horsemeat in school dinners

By Kevin Unitt Friday 15 February 2013 Updated: 18/02 08:14

HORSEMEAT is not on the menu in Warwickshire's schools.

The county's main caterer moved quickly to reassure parents as the scandal - which sparked when Irish food inspectors found horsemeat in burgers stocked by a number of UK supermarket chains - spread to these shores this week with British food suppliers implicated. Environment secretary Owen Wilson is in emergency meetings with the Food Standards Agency, supermarkets and distributors to get to the bottom of the scandal.

This week County Caterers – Warwickshire County Council's catering arm to schools in the county - moved to put minds at rest by getting its suppliers to explain the source of their meat.

Nicky Stonebridge of Lower Hurst Organic Farm in Derbyshire, which supplies the minced beef used across Warwickshire, said: “Headlines over recent days will have put doubts in the minds of some parents regarding the composition of our beef products.

“We reassure you that all of Lower Hurst’s Beef products are fully certified as organic. This certification confirms the UK origin of all the beef we use, the farm of origin, the organic status of the individual livestock and the production process here.”

Regarding other beef products served by County Caterers, sliced beef is Scottish and meatballs are English, both products being supplied by The UK Foodhall based in Shrewsbury.

Karen McQuade from the company said: "All of our beef is British Red Tractor, so our supply chain for provenance is assured.

“However, a food industry scare like this needs everyone to be extra vigilant, so to that aim, we have had all of our beef products DNA tested by a third party laboratory and our beef products only tested positive for beef, no other animal DNA was found in our beef products.

“Warwickshire County Council has received a copy of the laboratory report dated January 24.”

The reassurances come after Jerry Roodhouse, Liberal Democrat leader on the county council, called for assurances as to the safety controls in place.

Meanwhile Meals on Wheels services are provided by County Enterprise Foods, which said its suppliers had given full assurances as the meat used.

Runwood Homes, which oversees care homes in Warwickshire, offered the same assurance when contacted by The Observer.

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