Council defends meat supply as Brakes are put on beefburgers

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THE ongoing furore over horsemeat in the human food chain has led Scottish Borders Council (SBC) to issue a statement defending its food buying practice.

Council meat is provided by, among others, Brakes, a company which this week put “a hold” on the use of its frozen beef burger stock, and confirmed they are working with council and Food Standards Agency (FSA) investigations.

The first phase of testing for Brakes brand products containing beef has been completed, and a second list of results has been submitted to the FSA.

The Brakes Group has previously trumpeted its dedication to clearer food labelling, including its work with the Red Tractor scheme, which aims to track food from farm to plate.

Renfrewshire Council has already withdrawn several Brakes Group products from its school canteens after the Kent-based firm supplied lasagne containing horse DNA to another customer.

A spokesperson from SBC said: “Brakes is one of our suppliers, as part of a national procurement framework. We have not withdrawn any products from our school menus because the information received from Brakes has confirmed that we do not purchase any products which could be at risk.”

The council spokesperson went on to confirm SBC was continuing to receive regular updates from their procurement agency, Scotland Excel, who hosted the local authority procurement community’s Annual Review in January.

Scotland Excel have advised councils not to serve any frozen beef products after traces of horse DNA were found in North Lanarkshire burgers.

On Friday the procurement agency, which supplies 28 local authorities across the country, advised councils not to use any current stocks or order any fresh stocks of frozen beef products.

Products will be pulled from menus in schools, care homes, leisure centres and other council-provided catering in Scotland.