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Council in U-turn over school meat

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: February 14, 2013

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BEEF has been taken off the menu at Burton schools just 48 hours after the council assured parents that there was no threat of children being affected by the horse meat scandal.

In a remarkable turnaround in events, beef has been taken out of school meals, but Staffordshire County Council remain adamant that there was never any risk to children.

As more revelations continue to filter through on the saga, which has been making national headlines for weeks, the decision has now been made to pull the meat from schools to make ‘absolutely sure’ that meat hasn’t been contaminated.

The council, which provides meat to 87 per cent of schools in the county, moved to allay any fears in Burton after the Government announced that testing would be carried out in some schools, but now it has been confirmed that meat in Staffordshire will in fact be subject to testing.

On Wednesday, Mark Winnington, the county council’s cabinet member for environment, said that people should have ‘absolute confidence in what they are eating’ and that the authority had received assurances that its meat was not affected.

The authority maintains there has never been any suspicions regarding meat in Burton schools and that the decision has been taken purely as a precaution, but Councillor Winnington has been forced to admit that he couldn’t guarantee schools hadn’t been affected in an extraordinary climbdown by the council.

He said: “We have every confidence in our suppliers and continue to seek assurances that the meat is not contaminated. However, we’re taking a belt and braces approach with this, and beef that is not farm assured and sourced within the UK has been removed from all school meals this week so we can conduct further testing.

“We want to be absolutely sure the products we’re supplying to schools are what they purport to be. We anticipate that normal school menus will return after half term.”

Schools in South Derbyshire remain unaffected after the county’s authority announced that there had been no changes to its school meals.

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  • TedBailey  |  February 14 2013, 8:50PM

    I am surprised at the Burton Mail headline, is the paper advocating that children are fed red meat in this evolving story? We would rather the County Council are cautious and check the food if only on religous grounds, it seems nobody is absolutely sure they know where it is from unless, as the county council advocate, it is local and farm assured. Well done to the County Council and shame on the Burton Mail!

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