Parents reassured Nottinghamshire school meals are free from horse meat

A brown horse trotting. BCYWH9
A brown horse trotting. BCYWH9

NOTTINGHAMSHIRE County Council has moved to reassure parents that school meals provided by the authority’s catering service are free from horse meat.

In January, it was revealed that horse meat had been found in burgers and ready meals, which prompted several big name supermarkets to pull their products from the shelves.

Nottinghamshire County Council serve, on an average day, 42,000 meals across 272 of 285 county primary schools and 30 of the 45 county secondary schools and also wheels out 1,100 meals at home to older people across Nottinghamshire each day.

The authority says it has taken all the necessary safeguards to trace where it buys its meat from and uses Maloney’s butchers in Tuxford for most of its meat supplies.

All meat supplied by Maloney’s uses animals which are allowed to graze freely in the fields and parks in and around the county - from wild venison from Sherwood Forest and beef from Holme Farm in Rampton to pork from East Drayton and Hockerwood Farm in Upton.

The company’s suppliers provide Maloney’s with statements confirming provenance of the meat.

Meanwhile, bosses at Derbyshire County Council have confirmed that their meals use produce from two local organic farms.

The authority says products are subject to a full tracing exercise, which details exactly where the beef is from, full details of the animals from which they are made and the organic accreditations of the farms.

Coun Mike Longden, cabinet member for education, said:“In the wake of the national concern this issue is causing I’m keen to pre-empt any worries parents might have by making it clear our school meals meet the very highest standards.

“We have a supplier which provides our fresh mince and they are subject to regular checks. Our school meals service itself is checked to ensure the products we use are of the right quality.

“We work very hard to make sure our meals offer the best possible value for money to parents and never compromise on quality.”

The council carries out random and regular checks with all suppliers to be sure everything used in school meals contains what it is supposed to.

“Our trading standards officers also take samples of the products used to confirm products are not contaminated,” added Coun Longden.

Earlier this week, supermarket giants Sainsbury’s confirmed that no horse meat had been found in any produce, but it had taken burger products off its shelves following the contamination scandal.