You will no doubt have seen the recent media coverage of the discovery of horsemeat in some pre-prepared beef products nationally. This letter is to tell you what has happened so far locally and how beef on school meal menus in your school is to be managed from now on.
The Results of Testing Beef Burgers
Taylor Shaw, who supply school meals in your child’s school inSheffield, have an ethos of using freshly prepared foods, cooked on site wherever possible. The only pre-prepared products that have been used in the service are beef burgers and sausages and these have been supplied by the food distributor Brakes. The Food Standards Agency has instructed all suppliers and manufacturers to the industry to test all their beef products. This has now been done.
The results have been received and I am very happy to confirm that our supply of beef burgers to Sheffield schools have been found to be free of any horse DNA .
This applies to Secondary and Primary sectors and also any halal burgers that were being used in the service prior to the start of the problems in January.
There is no evidence according to the Food Standards Agency that pork products need to be investigated and are therefore not subject to any testing so pork sausages will remain on the menus. Dishes such as meatballs, lasagne and pies are all home made.
What Happens Now
The Council and Taylor Shaw are still concerned about how this situation has come about nationally and also that it will be some time before the Food Standards Agency reports on why beef products have been sold containing horsemeat and horse DNA. So Taylor Shaw has decided not to re-introduce the beef burgers from Brakes, but to make their own for the time being by the catering teams using fresh beef mince from their local butcher, Underwoods Meats Ltd. They are also sorting out a supply of beef burgers made up by Underwoods on their behalf, again using the best quality meat, in order to get the volumes needed to satisfy school menus. Any home made beef burger will comply to Taylor Shaw’s recipe and it will meet the requirement of the contract standard in terms of fat and meat content.
Our Quality Standard
As parents and carers, you will expect the Council and its suppliers to have high standards. We absolutely will not compromise on this and the health and wellbeing of our children and young people is paramount at all times. Our school meals service is one area where the most robust checks are in place to ensure we serve high quality food and that your child receives the food you believe they should be.
The meat supply used in your schools’ service meets the highest rating possible by British Retail Consortium – Grade A – and all the meat is Red Tractor accredited. This means that it can be traced back to the original supplier of the meat. The School Food Service is in receipt of all documentation that shows this quality standard and this is updated annually as part of the contract between Taylor Shaw and the Council. We therefore make sure that we have a visible and robust trail of where the meat has come from. This also includes halal meat.
Trading Standards Testing
The School Food Service checks the raw materials used in the service by an independent testing process every year through our Trading Standards Department. This test always includes meat in all its forms plus fish and milk, and includes a check for any pork DNA in halal meat. All our fresh meat – diced and minced – has been found to fully meet the School Catering Contract standard when the latest test was completed in November 2012.
I hope that this letter has gone some way to reassure you that both ourselves and Taylor Shaw have the highest standards in place regarding all aspects of the food we serve your children. It is something we will never compromise on. If you have any comments or queries regarding this letter, do not hesitate to get in touch with us using our telephone numbers above or our direct email address firstname.lastname@example.org
Please download the letter here: Taylor Shaw Letter