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Burgers withdrawn from Neath Port Talbot schools amid new horse meat fears

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: February 23, 2013

By paul lewis

Burger

Burgers have been withdrawn from Neath Port Talbot schools due to horse meat concerns

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BURGERS are off the menu for Neath and Port Talbot children in the latest twist in the horse meat controversy.

Neath Port Talbot is one of seven councils in Wales to be supplied with food from the Burger Manufacturing Company (BMC), where three samples have tested positive.

Neither Swansea nor Carmarthenshire councils are listed among the councils supplied with BMC products, which are distributed by a firm named Holdsworth.

Earlier this week Neath Port Talbot gave an assurance to parents, saying its food suppliers had confirmed their products did not contain horse meat.

The authority says that information was correct at the time, and it took swift action once the BMC situation came to light — but stated there was no risk to health.

It has now withdrawn the BMC products and instructed schools the council provides catering for to do the same.

BMC, based near Builth Wells, said its meat came from Farmbox Meats in Llandre, near Aberystwyth, which is already under police investigation.

The company and supplier Holdsworth has withdrawn suspect products.

A Neath Port Talbot Council spokesman said: "Further to our statement earlier this week, which was based on the information we had at the time, we can confirm that one of our suppliers has informed us that some batches of burgers supplied to them have been found to contain horse meat.

"Although there is no confirmation that the batches we received have been contaminated in this way, we have taken immediate and appropriate action to withdraw these products and instruct the schools that we provide catering for to do the same.

"We would like to reassure parents and the school communities that there are no health risks involved.

"We are also conducting our own tests on these products and are continuing to work with other suppliers to confirm the provenance of their products."

The other councils supplied with BMC products are Monmouthshire, Blaenau Gwent, Merthyr, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Caerphilly and Powys.

New tests have confirmed that no horse DNA has been found in meat supplied to Swansea schools and care homes.

June Burtonshaw, Swansea Council's cabinet member for place, said: "People can be reassured that, as a council, we always take food safety very seriously and are committed to the highest standards in food provision.

"We have procedures in place that mean people can be confident of the food products we provide."

Bet Jenkins, Swansea Council's catering facilities manager, said the meals service complies with strict standards and food is freshly cooked on site wherever possible.

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