Beef off the menu in some county schools

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After finding horse meat DNA in its beef frozen and processed food, catering company Sodexo, which supplies several schools in West Sussex, has withdrawn the offending products.

While there is no evidence beef products containing horse meat were ever served at Horsham schools, there are eight schools in West Sussex served by Sodexo - including Tanbridge House School.

In an email to parents Jules White, headteacher at Tanbridge, said: “At this stage I am uncertain whether or not Tanbridge House has been directly affected by the current horse meat affair but I will, of course, keep you fully informed as and when I receive more information.”

Sodexo said they had an active programme in place to make sure no horse meat entered its supply chain, as they demanded written assurances and implemented an internal sampling programme.

A spokesperson for the firm said: “Despite repeated guarantees from our suppliers, our sampling has identified frozen beef products which tested positive for equine DNA.

“This situation is totally unacceptable.”

John Figgins, county catering service manager for West Sussex County Council, said: “Sodexo supplies only eight schools in West Sussex.

“As a precaution the company has withdrawn frozen beef products from all its customers as part of its plan to ensure horse meat is not present.

“We are in close contact with Sodexo and other suppliers, and are constantly monitoring the situation.

“The Government has stated the current situation presents no risk to human health.

“However we are doing all we can to ensure the high quality of food products supplied through contracts in which we are involved.”

In January 2013 horse meat was found in a range of frozen beef products, which has caused retailers to withdraw a range of products from their shelves across the UK and other parts of Europe.