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Beef burgers taken off menu at Flintshire schools as ‘precautionary measure’

BEEFBURGERS served in Flintshire’s schools have been withdrawn ‘as a precaution’ after traces of equine DNA were found in the property of the meat suppliers.

However, tests carried out on the actual burgers found no traces of horse.

Tom Davies, head of development and resources at Flintshire County Council said: “We have been informed that beefburgers available on Flintshire school meals menus have been tested and no trace of equine DNA has been found, however routine testing has been carried out further down the supply chain and traces of equine DNA have been found in the property of the suppliers of meat to the beefburger production company.

“As a precaution the supplier, following advice from the Food Standards Agency, has made the decision to withdraw the beefburgers at this point.”

Cllr Kevin Jones, cabinet member for public protection stressed the action was a precaution adding: “We remain confident of the quality of our supplier’s products.

“We seek ‘best value’ in all that we procure and Tuco, a national buying consortium providing products to local authorities, universities and the NHS, provide comprehensive specifications to suppliers detailing the quality of produce we expect to receive.

“Suppliers bid on that specification and on the volume they expect us to procure over the life of the contract. The award of the contract by Tuco is based on a weighting comprising, cost, quality and delivery of service.

“All food is freshly prepared daily in the school kitchen by experienced cooks and chefs fully trained in both food preparation and nutrition.”

He said the council monitors its food costs and increased its budget by £133,000 in 2012/13 and the final budget proposals for 2013/14 includes a further £141,000, subject to the approval of the county council at a meeting on March 1.

Earlier this week, Deeside-based Iceland chief executive and chairman Malcolm Walker blamed local authorities for the horse meat scandal accusing councils, education chiefs and health bosses of putting cost before quality and driving prices down.

Mr Walker, insisting he would not eat supermarket value brand meals, said: “Supermarkets are visible because they’re on the high street, but supermarkets shouldn’t be blamed.

“If we’re going to blame somebody, let’s start with local authorities.”