Hospital suppliers make horse meat checks

General view of the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital at Colney; April 2009; NNUH / Hospital /

General view of the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital at Colney; April 2009; NNUH / Hospital / Colney / Parking / A & E; Picture: James Bass; Copy: Rebecca Gough; For: EN News; Evening News © 2009 (01603) 772434 - Credit: Evening News © 2009

Norfolk's three major hospitals are making strenuous efforts to try to confirm no patients have been served food containing horsemeat while in their care.

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (N&N) has not yet been able to give a definite answer but has asked its suppliers to provide clarification.

A spokesman said: 'Our suppliers are carrying out detailed checks on beef products supplied to the hospital and those tests are still under way. '

Both the James Paget University Hospital (JPH), in Gorleston, and Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH), in King's Lynn, serve food from suppliers which have been approved by the East of England NHS Collaborative Procurement Hub.

Management at both hospitals are satisfied with assurances provided to them by their suppliers, with a JPH spokesman saying: 'All of our meat is sourced from a local East Anglian supplier and no processed foods are given to our patients.

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'All our meals are freshly prepared on site by a team of professional chefs. We are proud to continue this relatively unique service at the hospital.'

While a QEH spokesman said: 'All our food is obtained fresh from local suppliers who are approved by the NHS Procurement hub and have been carefully checked out beforehand.

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'As a result we are able to trace the origin of all our food via our authorised suppliers. Our meat, for example, comes from a Norfolk butcher and we have full confidence in the supply chain.'

Mental health providers Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, which runs units such as Hellesdon Hospital in Norwich, has also been given assurances.

Neil Stewart, the trust's food safety officer, said: 'Our main food suppliers in Norfolk and Suffolk wrote to us a week ago, confirming that there was no horsemeat in their products.

'Before we receive it, they use their own team of butchers to prepare the meat, which is subject to ongoing DNA tests.'

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