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Horsemeat found in Southampton school meals
SCHOOL pupils in Southampton have eaten horsemeat in their school dinners, the Daily Echo can reveal today.
A supplier has removed all frozen and processed beef products from menus at Oasis Academy Lord’s Hill and Oasis Academy Mayfield after unacceptably high levels of horse DNA were found.
The bags of mince were thought to have been used to make meat dishes served to children between October and last month.
Food firm Sodexo last night admitted that its tests had revealed batches of mince it supplied to the two secondary schools had been contaminated.
The academies’ principal, Ian Golding, and vice principal, Simon Firth, have written to parents informing them of the development.
A joint statement from both academies said: “We can confirm that with immediate effect all frozen and processed beef products have been withdrawn from the academies as a precaution.
We have communicated this to all parents and carers and are assuring that their best interest is at the heart of all we do.
“We will also continue to keep them informed of any further developments.
“Oasis Community Learning has a national contract with Sodexo for the provision of meals in our academies.
“Sodexo has implemented measures to monitor its suppliers in the light of the horsemeat issues. In addition they implemented their own independent sampling programme to test for equine DNA in products supplied to them.”
Sodexo refused to name its supplier while its own investigation was under way.
A spokesman said: “Despite repeated guarantees from our suppliers our sampling has identified frozen beef products which tested positive for equine DNA and we can confirm that affected frozen mince was used by two academies in Southampton.
“However, the amount of mince used in both schools was very small and would have accounted for less than one main dish-worth on one day in a three to four-month period.
“To reassure its customers Sodexo has withdrawn all its frozen beef products and will only re-admit into our catering operations products that have affirmatively passed DNA testing.
“We have notified the Food Standards Agency of our findings and will assist fully in its investigation.”