Statement on meat quality in Leeds City Council catering contracts

Meat supplied to Leeds City Council has been found to be contamination-free after testing by West Yorkshire Trading Standards.

Councillor Peter Gruen, executive member for neighbourhoods, planning and support services said:

“This is excellent news and disproves claims in the national media that local authorities have contributed to lowering the cost and quality of meat. In Leeds we work with our contractors to buy quality food at a reasonable price.

“Only UK farm assured beef is acceptable in our contracts. In addition to this we also welcome *Red Tractor and *EBLEX accreditation as acceptable standards. We also supply free range and freedom food accredited beef to a number of our schools. Quality and nutrition in school meals is very important to us and we will not allow our children’s food to be compromised by cheaper, lower grade supplies.

“This approach is paying great dividends as in the past year we’ve seen a 6% rise in the take-up of school dinners- an extra 1,080 meals a day- across the city.

“As regards the sourcing of meat in general, we are confident that we have pursued every possible line of traceability. We have written reassurance from every supplier that there has been no contamination. This has been confirmed in independent tests to date.

“We remain vigilant against contamination and will continue to demand quality produce from our contractors.”

Notes to editors:

When sourcing meat from suppliers Leeds City Council requires that they place 60% of their bid’s weighting on quality and the remaining 40% on price. This applies to both fresh and frozen products.

*Red Tractor promotes good standards in food and farming. Under its accreditation every single step of the food supply chain is independently inspected- full details of the scheme can be found here: www.redtractor.org.uk

*EBLEX is the organisation for the English beef and sheep industry. Information about their standards can be found on their website here www.eblex.org.uk

For media enquiries please contact:

Donna Cox, Leeds City Council press office, 0113- 224 3335

Email donna.cox@leeds.gov.uk