Parents assured horse meat was not present in school dinners
CATERING firm Sodexo has sent a letter to parents reassuring them that horse meat was not found in school dinners in Stroud.
Beef products were pulled from Stroud High School and Marling School last month as a precaution after Sodexo found traces of horse DNA in some of its lines.
Sodexo, which runs the canteens at the two secondary schools, has carried out an investigation which proves that the affected frozen beef products did not reach Stroud.
In the letter, managing director Jane Bristow, said: "We take this matter very seriously and took immediate action to withdraw all frozen beef products which had not yet been DNA tested.
"Our investigations have confirmed that your school did not receive frozen beef products from the range of products in question."
A spokesman for the company said that despite repeated guarantees from its suppliers, sampling identified equine DNA in three of its frozen beef products.
Headteachers at both schools wrote to parents when Sodexo made the announcement on Friday, February 22.
Stroud High headteacher Tim Withers said the school, which has used Sodexo for at least six years, would continue to work with the firm.
Marling headteacher Dr Stuart Wilson also said they would continue to contract out the school's meal service to Sodexo.
A Sodexo spokesman said: "This situation is totally unacceptable.
"We felt the only appropriate response was to withdraw all frozen beef products and we have launched our own investigation to understand how this regrettable situation arose.
"We have now added DNA testing to our existing food assurance programme, which means that only frozen beef products that meet out specification through DNA testing will be used in our catering operations.
"Food safety, traceability and quality remain the top priority for Sodexo."