14/02/2013 10:51 GMT | Updated 14/02/2013 10:54 GMT

Staffordshire County Council Removes Beef From School Menus Over Horse Meat Fears

A council has removed beef from its school menus as a "precautionary measure" in light of the horse meat scandal.

Despite insisting there was no presence of horse meat in pupils' school lunches just one day ago, Staffordshire County Council now says it will withdraw beef from all menus.

The u-turn comes as concerns were raised whether humans had consumed the harmful horse drug bute, which has been found in eight horses slaughtered in the UK. Two were retrieved, but the other six have not been traced.

The Food Standards Agency said bute, which is potentially dangerous for humans, could have been entering the food chain in a "significant amount" of carcasses.

MPs have now called for improved food testing, describing the scale of contamination in the meat supply chain as "breathtaking".

Mark Winnington, Staffordshire's cabinet member for the environment, said: "We have every confidence in our suppliers and continue to seek assurances that the meat is not contaminated. However, we’re taking a belt and braces approach with this, and beef that is not farm assured and sourced within the UK has been removed from all school meals this week so we can conduct further testing.

"We want to be absolutely sure the products we’re supplying to schools are what they purport to be. We anticipate that normal school menus will return after half term."


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