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Horse meat scandal hits schools

19 February 2013

Lurid headlines following the discovery of horse meat in school dinners may lead schools to question their role. To date there is little evidence to suggest the horse meat scandal poses a serious threat to human health. The more pressing issue is that people are being misled about what is in their food and parents may turn to schools for answers and reassurance that safeguards are put in place.

Ultimate responsibility for food standards rests with the local authority, the governing body (if money for school meals is delegated) or the board of directors in academy trusts. The Food Standards Agency has taken a belt and braces approach stating whoever is responsible for catering contracts should have rigorous procurement and monitoring procedures in place with reputable suppliers and ask for evidence of authenticity from meat suppliers.

Schools and academies should seriously consider if they have taken all reasonable steps and have sensible practices in place to satisfy themselves about the quality of the food being served.

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