FOODSERVICE COMPANIES have reacted to help calm concerned clients and customers following the horsemeat scandals.
So far the discovery of horse DNA has been limited to products in the retail supply chain, but foodservice companies assured that checks are underway and double-checks are taking place with suppliers of specific products.
There is a feeling that politicians have been too quick to criticise the catering sector. Earlier this week, shadow DEFRA secretary Mary Creagh told the Telegraph that she was concerned that “schools and hospitals may have horsemeat lurking in their freezers” and “there doesn’t seem to be any plan” to ensure that it is checked and taken off the menu.
In a statement to MPs on Monday she also said: “The supermarkets have acted with speed and a degree of transparency on this that puts him to shame. I am disappointed that the hospitality industry and caterers have not been as candid.”
However, the likes of Sodexo, Aramark, Brakes and 3663 have all confirmed to Footprint that no products containing horsemeat have yet been identified in their supply chain. These statements are available in full here. Compass was unavailable for comment.
The Hospital Caterers Association also said that it is “confident” that hospitals meals have not been affected by the current situation.
The British Hospitality Association (BHA) defended its reaction speed to the growing crisis. A spokeswoman said foodservice companies “have acted with immediacy and transparency so far”. “The BHA is currently in the process of collating details of any DNA testing undertaken by its members,” she added.
The government and the Food Standards Agency (FSA) have demanded that test results for hundreds of products are made available by the weekend, though some sources have told Footprint that the deadline won’t be met. There is also confusion about the proposed new testing regime with a feeling of being “left in the dark” according to one source.