County Council offers reassurance in the wake of national horsemeat issue
Friday, 08 February 2013
In the wake of fresh concerns over horsemeat being found in some meat products sold in supermarkets across the country, parents of Hampshire schoolchildren and the families of residents in Hampshire County Council care homes are being reassured that beef in their meals is 100% beef.
Hampshire County Council provides around 8.5million meals each year to people in its care, some of whom are vulnerable. Hampshire's meals contain locally sourced ingredients such as Hampshire beef and pork, and meatballs and beef burgers on the lunchtime menu for schoolchildren are produced locally from Laverstoke Park Farm near Overton, which contain 100% beef.
With the price of a school meal once again frozen at £2 - for a fifth year in a row - free range eggs from the New Forest are also used, as well as apple juice from Selborne, and fish from well-managed, sustainable fisheries.
County Council Leader, Councillor Ken Thornber, said: "As we are serving around 45,000 meals each day to Hampshire pupils we have to be very sure about food safety. We take the food chain back to source by looking at where the food comes from, and we also carry out strict hygiene and cleanliness checks in school kitchens to ensure that the meals served to children remain of the highest standard. What's more, our school meals service remains the only one in the country to hold the Hyperactive Children's Support Group Award for the removal of over 70 additives in food that may cause children a behavioural or medical issue, such as colourants, sulphites and trans fats.
"In addition, our Hampshire Scientific Service check at source, all the suppliers of food provided by the County Council, and carry out stringent checks throughout the year, from supply to kitchen and all the stages in between, which also include verifying the authenticity of ingredients. We are unique in that few other local authorities do this.
"We also enforce standards through our Trading Standards Service and we have a higher focus than many authorities in this area. The food that we supply tends to be provided by local suppliers. By working with them through Trading Standards and monitoring the food we purchase, we believe we are helping local companies meet their statutory obligations, helping them stay in business, and ensuring the wellbeing of Hampshire residents.
"As a result of this thorough approach, we have been hailed an example of good practice and will continue to monitor the food we buy and supply, to ensure that we continue to meet our responsibilities, and provide reassurance to the people of Hampshire."