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Howard and Byrne Solicitors, York - Criminal Defence Specialists

North Yorkshire School Dinners Free of Horsemeat


4:48pm 8th March 2013

North Yorkshire’s school meals have beengiven a clean bill of health after results today from recent tests show they are free of horsemeat.

North Yorkshire County Caterers, the school meals service, is proud of the dishes it serves to pupils every day.  Meals are made from scratch, fresh every day on school premises using fresh ingredients whenever possible.   

The North Yorkshire meat supplier, Gilmoors, only supplies meat produced from fresh prime cuts.  All meat and poultry is delivered fresh; no frozen meat is used. It is a contract requirement that only whole joints may be used to make minced meat and sausages. 

Gilmoors process all meat products used by the school meal service which includes mincing and dicing on their premises from whole forequarter joints of beef, lamb and pig.  It is also a contract requirement that only meat and poultry which has been slaughtered in the UK can be used.  In practice meat and poultry is sourced from farms in the region.

As a precaution the county council had carried out an audit of supplies which included an inspection of meat traceability records and the examination of raw meat stocks.  The audit showed that everything was satisfactory. 

As an additional safeguard the county council carried out spot testing of beef being used in schools.  This also included tests on some processed meat products which a small number of schools had purchased on an ad hoc basis, outside the advertised menu.  All of these tests show that beef used had no trace of horsemeat or any other animal meat.

County councillor Arthur Barker, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for the schools catering service said: “These tests prove what we have been confident of all along, that the ingredients used in school meals are from top quality produce. 

“North Yorkshire County Caterers has gone to great lengths over the years and helped to set a national standard in the sourcing of food and the training of cooks, so that all our food in schools is locally sourced whenever possible and cooked fresh in school kitchens.  We firmly believe that a nutritious meal served to children in the middle of the day promotes good health and sustains their learning for the long term.”

• Only fresh meat and poultry from prime cuts and whole joints are used in school dinners.

• Half of all fruit and vegetables are sourced from the north of England

• Most of the seasonal salad requirements are met by growers in the Humberside region

• All eggs are free range and produced in Yorkshire.  North Yorkshire County Caterers has been awarded a “Good Egg Award” for its free range policy from the animal welfare charity Compassion in World Farming

• The great majority of cheese is sourced from the north of England and made with local milk.

The City of York Council says it's confident it's school dinners are free from horsemeat.

Mark Ellis, Head of School Services at City of York Council, said: "Our children deserve the very best meals and our menus meet the full nutritional standards required by government and our primary schools were awarded the Food For Life Partnership Silver Level requirements in September. In addition to this, all our supplies of meat products adhere to strict ‘Red Tractor Assurances’, which guarantees the quality, origin and means a product can be traced back to the exact British Farm it was sourced from.

“The Red Tractor logo ensures that every critical step of the food supply chain is independently inspected so that food is produced to quality standards by assured farmers, growers and producers in the UK, from farm to school.”

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Howard and Byrne Solicitors, York - Criminal Defence Specialists