Mince off the menu in Pembrokeshire schools
4:00pm Thursday 7th March 2013 in News
Pembrokeshire County Council has withdrawn all mince products from school and care home menus, after a batch of frozen minced beef from one of its suppliers tested positive for horsemeat.
Pembrokeshire County Council is a member of the Welsh Purchasing Consortium (WPC), which enables local authorities to collaboratively procure a range of goods and services.
One of these contracts, managed by Caerphilly County Borough Council, is for the supply of meat.
Last Wednesday, WPC members – including Pembrokeshire – were informed by one of its meat suppliers that tests revealed horsemeat in a batch of frozen minced beef.
Previous samples of mince supplied by Welsh Bros, which is based in Newport, Gwent, were tested last month and found to be compliant.
The mince may have been supplied to schools, council-run residential homes and day centres within the county.
Frozen beef products from Swindon-based Sodexo, which provides catering services to Pembroke Dock Community School, also tested positive for horsemeat.
But on Thursday Sodexo confirmed its records showed none of the three batches of frozen beef products containing horsemeat had been delivered to the school and said products would only be reintroduced following DNA testing.
Pembroke Dock Community School headteacher Michele Thomas said: “We are pleased to hear this news, which I am sure will come as a relief to all pupils, parents and staff.
Preseli Pembrokeshire AM Paul Davies said: “This development will undoubtedly cause concern for many people across Pembrokeshire and so I’m pleased the council has taken swift action by removing mince products from its menus.
“It’s now essential that the Welsh Government also responds to this quickly and works closely with council officials and the FSA.”
The council has received assurances from its other two suppliers – Celtic Food Services in Pembroke and Preseli Gold in Fishguard – over the traceability of their products.
The council’s food safety and standards team is prioritising visits to cold stores, approved meat products and meat processing premises, which have not been inspected in the last 12 months.
Officers are checking relevant documentation, labelling and traceability in line with Food Standards Agency Advice.