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Horse meat probe over school dinners
DORSET County Council is investigating to see if horse meat has made it into school dinners.
The investigation comes after the growing scandal of horse meat sold in some supermarkets around the country.
Raids were conducted on an abbatoir and butcher in Wales and North Yorkshire yesterday in after concerns were raised about horse meat in burgers and kebabs. Waitrose has withdrawn its essential beef frozen meatballs because they were found to contain pork.
A Dorset County Council spokesperson said: “We have been asked by the Food Standards Agency to conduct an investigation into this matter.
“We have contacted our suppliers and are waiting for them to get back to us.”
However, both Bournemouth Borough Council and Hampshire County Council have already confirmed that none of the food served in the schools or council care homes they are responsible for has been affected.
Hampshire County Council provides around 8.5million meals each year to people in its care, some of whom are vulnerable.
Council leader Cllr Ken Thornber said: “As we are serving around 45,000 meals each day to Hampshire pupils, we have to be very sure about food safety.”
Community learning and commissioning resources manager Rachel Gravett of Bournemouth Borough Council said: “The supplier of the centrally-held school meals contract for the council has confirmed that there have been no contaminated products supplied to them through their core meat suppliers.
“Their products are UK sourced and produced.”
Borough of Poole executive catering manager Tina Hayter said: “All meat used to prepare schools meals in Poole is locally sourced and supplied by an accredited and approved supplier.
“We do not use any processed meat in our school meals. All meat is supplied fresh and is prepared in our own kitchen.”
But Branksome butcher Steve Whitemore, who owns Whitemore’s Butchers in Poole Road, said the problem may be more widescale than is being revealed.
“I think these big chains saying they don’t know anything about it is rubbish,” he said.
“There are a number of rules and regulations in place throughout the process to make sure everything is as it should be.
“After the BSE crisis, they brought in a new legislation that ensures all beef has full traceability.
“By law, every bit of beef needs to have information about the country of origin, the slaughter date, the batch code and more. So what happened there?”
He added: “The other worrying thing is that we are only being told about two items – burgers and lasagne. But what about other products on the shelves?
“How do we know that a chicken pie is actually made up of a chicken, and not something else, like rabbit?
“Once the item is packaged up and there’s a sauce to hide the flavour, you’d never know.”