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  1. National

Sheffield Council ends processed meat use in school meals

Sheffield Council has said it has suspended the use of all processed meat in school meals with immediate effect.

In a joint statement with caterer Taylor Shaw, it said:

Although we have been given assurances by our suppliers about the provenance of the pre-prepared food, we take the safety of the young people in our schools very seriously.

In light of the ongoing revelations of alleged illegal activity by unscrupulous people regarding the contamination of processed meat products this week, as a precaution we have taken the joint decision to suspend the use of all processed meat products in all school meals with immediate effect.

We hope that this will reassure parents and carers who may have any reservations about their children's school meals.


  1. National

Vets and owners drawn into horsemeat conspiracy

Food Standards Agency (FSA) Chief Executive Catherine Brown has drawn vets and horse owners into the conspiracy behind horsemeat containing bute getting into the food chain.

Ms Brown highlighted that both had to sign horse passports if an animal was treated with the drug to ensure they were not sold on for human consumption.

Horse passports aim to prevent animals treated with bute entering the food chain. Credit: Reuters/Ina Fassbender

"If both these people have done the right thing, horses with bute in don't make their way into the food chain," she said. "Someone has always broken the rules".

Previously the FSA said testing for bute is a "good indicator" of whether an animal was legally slaughtered.

When asked whether it would be fair to assume that six percent of the 9,000 horse carcasses she said were exported from Britain every year - which amounts to 540 animals - contained bute, Ms Brown replied, "That seems as reasonable a basis for making an estimate as any other".

  1. National

FSA confirms eight horses tested positive for bute

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) said eight horses slaughtered in the UK tested positive for the veterinary drug bute.

It said six of the animals were slaughtered by LJ Potter Partners at Stillman's (Somerset) Ltd in Taunton, Somerset. They were then sent to France and "may have entered the food chain".

The remaining two did not leave the slaughterhouse in the UK - High Peak Meat Exports Ltd in Nantwich - and have now been disposed of "in accordance with EU rules".

A total of 206 horse carcasses were tested between 30 January and 7 February.

"The FSA is gathering information on the six carcasses sent to France and will work with the French authorities to trace them", the agency added.

  1. National

Paterson: Europol involvement 'incredibly important'

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said the formal involvement of EU law enforcement agency Europol in the meat fraud investigation is "an incredibly important step".

Speaking in the Hague after a meeting with Europol and the EU's judicial agency Eurojust, Mr Paterson said, "It's increasingly clear that this case reaches right across Europe".

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson. Credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire

"It's clear that Europol is the right organisation to coordinate efforts to uncover all wrongdoing and bring criminals to justice, wherever there may be".

"I will be speaking to my European colleagues again to urge their enforcement agencies to follow our lead and share all information they have with Europol", he added.


  1. National

Horsemeat scandal 'is a European problem'

Anne McIntosh, the chair of the Environment Select Committee has stated that the horsemeat scandal is a 'European problem'.

She said the committee was surprised how widespread the issue was, and that the Food Standards Agency needs to work closer with its European counterparts to solve the issue.

Ministers are now facing calls from MPs for more testing of processed meat.

  1. National

Scale of contamination in food chain 'breathtaking'

The Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee chairman Anne McIntosh described the scale of the contamination in the food chain as "breathtaking" and warned that restoring consumer confidence would take time and money.

The Government has a role to secure the correct balance between affordable food prices and effective regulations that require transparency and quality.

The consumer cannot be left to face a Catch 22 where they can either pay for food that complies with the highest standards of traceability, labelling and testing or accept that they cannot trust the provenance and composition of the foods they eat.

  1. National

Horsemeat scandal health fears

Ministers are facing calls from MPs for more testing of processed meat amid fears that beef products contaminated with horse meat could contain substances harmful to humans.

In a scathing report, the Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee condemned the Government's "flat-footed" handling of the horse meat scandal, saying its ability to respond had been weakened by cuts to the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

The committee said the public appeared to have been "cynically and systematically duped" for financial gain by elements of the food industry - raising wider concerns about the safety of the contaminated products.

It seems improbable that individuals prepared to pass horse meat off as beef illegally are applying the high hygiene standards rightly required in the food production industry.

We recommend that the Government and FSA undertake a broader spectrum of testing for products found to have the highest levels of contamination ... to provide assurances that there is no other non-bovine DNA or any other substances that could be harmful to human health present.

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