City school can trace all its food back to the farms it came from
AS more and more organisations question what is in the food they serve, school chef Trevor Cummings is confident that what he dishes up contains exactly what it says on the menu.
Mr Cummings, 52, is the chef for Trinity School in Aspley, and he knows precisely where the food he serves has come from.
Back in 2007 the school made the decision to cook its lunches in-house and source all its ingredients locally.
Mr Cummings, who used to own and run a restaurant in Nottingham, said: "Our meat comes from farms in Derbyshire, so we can trace it if needs be, and it isn't processed or frozen.
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"Other council-run schools may, however, be using frozen processed meat and there may be a vague chance they could contain horse meat – you just don't know.
"Of the 1,100 pupils at the school when I first joined, less than 500 were having school dinners. Now that number is at 900 and still increasing.
"We are getting our food fresh and local and its not costing the school the earth either. It's within budget."
If there are any winners in the horse-meat scandal now sweeping the country, it may well be those organisations that can trace the source of their food.
Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust is one of them.
The trust – which runs Nottingham City Hospital and the Queen's Medical Centre – recently built a new £1.6 million kitchen at its City Hospital campus, from which it is intending to serve 4,000 locally-sourced meals a day to its patients, doctors and nurses.
Because the hospital knows each farmer it buys food from – all of which are based in the East Midlands – it says it is confident it would not be tarnished by the scandal.
A hospital spokesman said: "Our meat is sourced from local and sustainable farms. We do not use frozen meat and are accredited by the Soil Association, ensuring our food is independently verified and of the highest standard."
Yesterday the Food Standards Agency ordered 28 local authorities to conduct tests on food to find out the scale of horse meat contamination in food.
Nottingham City Council leader Jon Collins confirmed that his authority was not one of those 28, but said environmental health officers were nevertheless conducting checks on certain foodstuffs to make sure there was no cause for concern.
He said: "We are aware of the issue and our environmental health officers are carrying out extra checks."
Burgers and ready meals have already been withdrawn by Tesco, Findus and Aldi.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has ordered tests on Findus beef lasagne, to find out whether there are traces of phenylbutazone or "bute" – an anti-inflammatory painkiller used on horses.
And as the weekend drew to a close the agency said it believed "criminal activity" could be to blame for the contamination of certain foods.