Beef dishes are removed from schools as a 'precaution'
BEEF dishes served in Bristol schools have been withdrawn from canteens in the wake of the horsemeat scandal.
Eden Foodservice, which supplies meals to 126 secondary, primary and nursery schools in the city, has withdrawn four products from menus as a precautionary measure.
The firm has withdrawn its pasta sauce with meat balls, pasta sauce with bolognese, sliced roast beef and traditional Cornish pasty.
The processed dishes were withdrawn a week ago and Eden's supplier is conducting tests on the products to check for the presence of horsemeat. The Cornish pasty dish, which is made with beef skirt, has already been tested and results have revealed no evidence of horsemeat contamination.
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All beef products supplied by Eden which are not processed are still being supplied to schools.
Lizzie Woolley, spokesman for the Surrey-based firm, said: "We are extremely confident that no contamination has occurred in any of our beef products as a result of robust due diligence processes we have in place with our suppliers. However, as an added precaution we are removing a small number of beef products from sale until we have received the satisfactory guarantees from our suppliers."
Eden Foodservice won a £40 million deal in 2007 to provide school meals in Bristol for eight years.
The contract, which was worth £5 million in annual turnover, was previously run in-house by the council.
A city council spokeswoman said affected schools would receive letters from Eden today explaining why the meals had been withdrawn.
She said: "The council demands high quality from its school meals contractors, specifically that they use good quality ingredients and 90 per cent of dishes are fresh and homemade. All our school meals providers are accredited with Red Tractor awards which means all meat is sourced from reputable suppliers, animals are looked after, meat is good quality and the supply chain can be traced back to a UK source."
The announcement from Eden came after it emerged that a food supplier with a plant in Bradley Stoke had been caught up in the horsemeat scandal.
Greencore confirmed it supplied the Chosen By You Beef Bolognese Sauce that Asda withdrew from sale after traces of horse DNA were found during screening tests.
The company said that the sauce contained meat supplied by a plant in Ireland and that it was awaiting further tests to confirm the presence and extent of horse DNA.
Asda has also withdrawn three other Greencore products from sale. The firm said horse DNA had not been found in the beef broth soup, meat feast pasta sauce and chilli con carne soup and that the withdrawal was a precautionary measure.
In a statement Greencore said: "The sauce contained meat that was supplied to Greencore under contract by the ABP Food Group's Nenagh plant in County Tipperary, Ireland, an approved and regularly audited supplier. The company is working closely with them to determine the full facts as we await the results of the further tests."
The FoodStandards Agency revealed on Friday that 2,501 tests were conducted on beef products, with 29 results positive for undeclared horse meat at or above one per cent. The 29 results related to seven different products already reported and withdrawn from sale.
Pub and hotel group Whitbread became the latest company to admit horse DNA had been found in its food, saying their meat lasagnes and beefburgers had been affected and removed from menus.
In Lancashire, horsemeat was discovered in school dinners. Cottage pies testing positive for horse DNA were sent to 47 schools before being withdrawn.
Yesterday, Environment Secretary Owen Paterson called for a Europe- wide overhaul of food testing in the wake of the scandal.