March 9 2014 Latest news:
By VICTORIA LEGGETT Education correspondent
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
School lunch providers in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire last night said they were confident none of their meals were at risk of containing horsemeat.
The reassurances follow fears raised last week that some suppliers of public sector food – including that served in schools and hospitals – could be involved in the scandal.
Last night the main providers of school meals in the three counties – Norse in Norfolk, Eastern Facilities Management Solutions in Suffolk and Cambridgeshire Cleaning and Catering Services – said parents and children had no need to worry.
But they said investigations were taking place to officially confirm that all meat used by its suppliers could be traced back to British farms.
A spokesman for Norse, which caters for 307 primary and 14 high schools in Norfolk, said it had received written assurances from all its meat suppliers that they had no links with companies involved in the scandal.
They added: “In addition to the written statements, and as an extra measure, Norse Catering, through its procurement contractor, is also tracing every meat product back to source to independently verify suppliers’ assurances that these products do not come from any suppliers or factories implicated.”
The providers in Norfolk and Suffolk both stressed that their school lunches were all made using fresh or frozen meat and neither used ready-made meals.
Most fresh meat is locally sourced and all is from UK farms.
Clive Hammond, managing director of the Suffolk County Council-owned Eastern Facilities Management Solutions, said its catering company, Eats, provided lunches at more than 250 primary schools and 29 high schools.
He said: “We have a policy of making products fresh on the premises in our kitchens rather than buying in already-prepared meals. All our suppliers all purchase ‘red tractor’ assured red meat, the vast majority of which is purchased locally in Suffolk.”
Its suppliers have all submitted samples for testing to confirm those assurances, with the results due back this week.
A spokesman for Cambridgeshire Catering and Cleaning Services, part of the county council, said: “CCS is confident that none of their meals served to the schools they supply contains any horsemeat – or indeed any other red meat other than from British raised animals.”