Concerns over horse meat in beef products reaches Plymouth schools
A CATERING firm which supplies a city school has withdrawn all frozen beef products after it found horse meat in one batch.
Meanwhile another city school is still awaiting test results from another catering company over the scandal.
The French catering company Sodexo withdrew all frozen beef products after it found horse meat in one batch.
Sodexo has provided catering at Manadon Park-based secondary school St Boniface College since 1999.
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However a spokesperson from Sodexo has said that none of the suspect meat found with equine DNA came to students at St Boniface College.
The catering company withdrew all frozen beef products from its UK catering operations with immediate effect, which they say was a precautionary measure and included St Boniface College.
A Sodexo spokesperson said: "Sodexo has had a pro-active programme in place to ensure that there is no horse meat in its supply chain.
"We demanded written assurances from across our supply chain that the products we purchase did not contain horse meat, and additionally implemented an internal sampling programme.
"Despite repeated guarantees from our suppliers, our sampling has identified frozen beef products which tested positive for equine DNA. This situation is totally unacceptable.
"We felt the only appropriate response was to withdraw not only this product but all frozen beef products. We will only re-admit into our catering operations products that have affirmatively passed DNA testing, pursuant to laboratory test criteria.
"We have notified the FSA of our findings and will assist fully in its investigation. We have also launched our own investigation to understand how this regrettable situation arose."
Peter Eccles, headteacher at St Boniface College, said: "Sodexo suppliers have confirmed that there was no contamination in any meats supplied to the school.
"I'm happy, generally their quality is excellent so we don't have any criticisms at all."
Plymstock School is still awaiting the test results of whether beef products containing equine DNA has been supplied to students.
The secondary school is waiting to hear the final outcome of the testing from catering service Innovate Ltd.
David Farmer, headteacher of Plymstock School, said: "My colleagues and myself want confirmation that the food sold in school is what we expect it to be.
"We do not want horse meat or anything else to be within those products.
"You pay a bit of a premium because you do expect high quality."
The supplier, which has been providing food to the secondary school since 2011, is continuing to manage the catering while the results are collated.
A spokesperson from Innovate Services said: "To provide assurances on the steps being taken regarding validating our food origin, I can confirm that the procurement team at Innovate Services are in the process of working with all key food and ingredient suppliers to Innovate Services to confirm the full origin and safety of the meat products we procure.
"We have already received certificates from a number of suppliers confirming the correct origin of our products and no traces of equine DNA have been identified. We are completing this exercise to provide complete assurance regarding the origin of all the food we serve at our restaurants.
"Our focus is to ensure that none of the affected products reach our food chain and we are speaking to DEFRA on a regular basis and continually checking the latest government advice and affected supplier lists."