In light of the FSA's report, released today, that announced that horse meat has been found in some school meals in Lancashire, Gateshead Council have released the following statement about schools in the area and their provision of school meals:
I am happy to reassure parents that the fresh meat in meals served in Gateshead schools is locally-sourced and does not contain horse meat.
We use a highly-reputable Gateshead-based catering butcher for all of
our meat supplies. The meat they supply us with is locally-sourced and
comes mostly from farms in the North of England via abattoirs which do
not slaughter horses.
As a result, we currently have no plans to remove beef from school menus.
Parents rightly demand that we only serve high-quality and fully-traceable meat to their children that is prepared fresh each day. That’s exactly what we do.
– Dale Robson, Service Director for Transport, Cleaning and Catering at Gateshead Council
We are have commissioned stringent ongoing independent testing on our own-brand products containing minced beef, as agreed with the Food Standards Agency. Today’s results have shown that, so far, no products in the current batch of those being tested have been found to contain horse DNA. Our tests are still ongoing and we continue to work with both the FSA and the British Retail Consortium, and expect to issue further updates in the next few days.
Waitrose has become the latest supermarket to pull beef burgers from its selves after horsemeat was found in burgers made by one their suppliers.
The company said it had taken frozen burgers made by Dalepak, one of the firms at the centre of the horsemeat contamination investigation, off sale "as a precaution" when it had its accreditation suspended.
In a statement, Waitrose said its burgers had since been tested and were found to be 100% beef:
"The ingredients in our burgers are simple with all meat traceable back to British farms that we know."
"Our technical team visited the Dalepak site last week and were happy that our products were produced to our high specification and separately from other companies' products (ours are produced at 6am before other any other burgers)."