Feb 18 2013 by Alix Culbertson, Hounslow Chronicle
PRIMARY schools across the borough have been assured horsemeat has not made its way into children's meals.
Most primary schools - apart from Westbrook Primary in Heston and Wellington Primary in Sutton Lane, Hounslow - use Hounslow Council's catering service, DS Catering, who claim not to use any processed beef in their meals.
The reassurances come after the first case of horsemeat DNA in UK school meals was found in cottage pies delivered to 47 schools in Lancashire last Thursday (14).
Councillor Steve Curran, Hounslow Council's cabinet member for education, said: "I'd like to reassure parents that our catering service do not serve any menu items made from processed beef.
"The food we purchase - beef, lamb, chicken and turkey - is British Farm Assured, supplied by a selected local butcher, and is fully traceable.
"This is not the cheapest way of buying meat, but gives us confidence that the meat we serve is as described, and free from any sort of contamination. We are closely monitoring the situation and will take action if required by the Government or Food Standards Agency.”
Secondary schools in Hounslow are supplied by a variety of different catering services and do not come under the council's remit with regards to school meals, apart from Isleworth and Syon School for Boys, which has its meals provided by DS Catering as well.
However, beef is not a common part of meals across the borough's school, no matter what caterers they use.
Chiswick School has confirmed their caterer, Innovate Services, is working with all their suppliers to validate the full origin and safety of all the meat they use in school meals, with many certificates already received.
James Whiting, deputy head, said: "We are working with our caterers to ensure we know where our meat comes from but we actually don't use any processed meat and in fact beef is not a big feature on our menus."
This positive news for Hounslow's schools comes as meat samples across the UK are being tested and beef is being removed from some school menus as a precaution.
The horsemeat scandal has been high on people's discussion lists since it began on January 16, with butchers expected to benefit from the fallout.
However, Hounslow's butchers have reported no increase in their sales. Rod McKay from Wyndham House Butchers, in Chiswick High Road, said: "Our sales are the same as last year, we are getting the same people coming to buy meat from us and there unfortunately hasn't been a sudden surge."