BURGERS have been withdrawn from the menus of local schools in the wake of the horse meat scandal.
After horse meat was found in burgers and ready meals, supermarkets have had to withdraw huge amounts of stock from shelves and issue assurances on the quality and safety of their products.
Also in the past week it has been found that possibly contaminated meat may have been supplied to local hospitals.
The Northern Eastern Education and Library Board said they while there was nothing to suggest horse meat had been found in school meals, burgers had been withdrawn as a precautionary measure.
A board spokeswoman said: “The North Eastern Education and Library Board’s School Catering Service, in line with the Government’s Nutritional Guidelines, adheres to very high standards when providing school meals to our pupils, ensuring quality and nutrition.
“We would like to reassure parents that the meat used in our school kitchens is supplied locally and all menu items such as spaghetti bolognese, or meat balls, are prepared by the school catering staff using fresh, steak minced.
“However, as a result of current issues with regard to meat processing, the Catering Service felt it appropriate not to offer steak burgers as a menu choice with effect from February 6, until further clarification is obtained from our suppliers.
“We trust that this precautionary measure provides parents and pupils with reassurance and confidence in the menu items that are on offer in our school kitchens.”
The board added: “We take very seriously the health and well-being of our pupils and the meals provided to them.
“It is the board’s policy for meat to be analysed on a regular basis and at no time have traces of horse meat been found in our meat supply. Thorough and regular testing will continue to ensure the safety and quality of meat used in our schools.”
Meanwhile Mallusk-based Henderson Food Service recalled burgers supplied to schools after contacting one of its suppliers to seek assurances they were unaffected by the horse meat scandal.
They were told the burgers were undergoing additional testing and, as a precaution, the stock was recalled.
Henderson Food Service confirmed they had “received news that independent tests carried out by the supplier have come back negative”.
It said that in light of the results it would be “contacting the education boards to discuss next steps regarding the product recall”.