Council to carry out sampling after horse meat scandal
By Prue_Reid | Friday, February 15, 2013, 16:03
COUNCIL environmental health officers in North Somerset are to undertake sampling of meat products following news horse meat has been found in some ready meals.
North Somerset Council environmental health officers are to investigate the supply chain of meat products used in food supplied to the area's hospitals and to schools still under the control of the council.
The move followed the discovery that foods sold in Europe and the UK labelled as beef contained horsemeat.
Concerns were initially raised last month after food inspectors announced they had found horsemeat in some burgers stocked by UK supermarket chains,
Further tests then revealed up to 100 per cent horsemeat was used in several ranges of prepared frozen food in Britain and across Europe.
It is understood the horsemeat may have come from abattoirs in Romania and into the food supply chain.
Some products - including some brands of lasagne and spaghetti bolognese - have been withdrawn from supermarkets as a result of the findings and a Government inquiry is now underway, although it is maintained there is no health risk from eating horsemeat.
Twenty eight authorities across the country have been asked to carry out food sampling by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) as a result of the scandal.
Although North Somerset has not been asked by the FSA to carry out sampling, the authority is to carry out its own checks.
The council, which employs contractor Edwards and Ward to supply the majority of its school meals, says it is confident in the quality of products supplied to students and patients.
Testing will not be carried out by the authority at academies across the district, which make their own catering arrangements.
Council spokeswoman, Zoe Briffitt, said: "We will not be testing meat at butchers or takeaways as this issue is more to do with meat products where different meats have been mixed into a single product.
"We will however be investigating the supply chain for meat products being used at Weston hospital and in some schools.
"We have already received confirmation from our main school meal caterer Edwards and Ward that they only use quality products from audited EC supplies for their beef burgers.
"They do not use frozen beef products on any of the school menus.
"We feel that sampling some products will help us reassure the public of the quality of meals they may be receiving."