Horsemeat not on menu in Warwickshire

By Kevin Unitt Friday 15 February 2013 Updated: 19/02 08:19

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Buy photos » Horsemeat has been discovered in several supermarket products including Findus beef lasagne. (s)

HORSEMEAT is not on the menu in school dinners or meals on wheels in Warwickshire.

The county's main caterer moved quickly to reassure people 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 assure parents and others regarding the meat used.

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

“We are writing to 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 from Scottish and meatballs are British, 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, said he would be seeking assurances at a full council meeting 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 paper this week.

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