Leicestershire County Council withdraws products from school menu over horse meat scare
Leicestershire County Council has withdrawn two beef products from school dinners over fears they could contain horse meat.
Beef grill steaks and minced beef will no longer be served to youngsters after the council sought reassurances from its suppliers. Tests are now underway to ensure the products contain only beef following revelations that some products in the food chain contain horse meat.
In a statement released yesterday, a county council spokesman said: "The vast majority of food supplied by the council's School Food Support Service is Red Tractor assured and we regularly seek assurances from our suppliers to ensure that they comply with legislation.
"It's important to reassure parents that following this mis-labelling issue, we've sought and received further specific assurances from suppliers that their products do not contain horse meat.
"We're happy with the quality of all beef products on our menu except for two that we have removed. These are two products we buy which aren't processed on site by the supplier. Although they are produced within the UK we're carrying out precautionary sampling and analysis to ensure that horse meat isn't contained within them.
"Until we know the outcome of these precautionary tests we have put a hold on using these products."
The Red Tractor is a food assurance scheme which covers production standards developed by experts on safety, hygiene, animal welfare and the environment.
All suppliers in the Red Tractor food chain are inspected and certified by an independent professional body to ensure that the food is safe and it is known where the raw ingredients come from.
The Red Tractor certifies that food has been produced to independently inspected standards right across the food chain – from farm to pack and was started by UK farmers, food producers and retailers. It was launched by Tony Blair in June 2000.
The School Food Support Service provides 22,000 meals to children across 244 schools across Leicestershire every day. Leicester City Council withdrew beef from its school menus several years ago following the scare over BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy).