SCOTTISH POLITICIANS have criticised catering companies Brakes and Sodexo for their failure to publicise information about who supplied them with products contaminated with horse meat.
In a national food policy debate in Scottish Parliament this week, attention turned to the horse meat scandal. Lib Dem MSP Tavish Scott was just one of those to raise concerns about the supply of contaminated products to local authorities and where the meat had originated.
He said: “I have raised in successive weeks at various question times the sourcing and procurement of frozen food by 28 of the 32 local authorities from Brakes. Mince for school dinners comes from that company, but […] no minister has been able to tell me from which farm that mince is sourced.
“[…] I am at a loss to understand why mums and dads, teachers and pupils as yet do not know where the mince comes from. They know that it comes from Brakes, but they do not know which farm it comes from.”
Labour’s Claire Baker also said that “we have learned that two large catering companies, Brakes and Sodexo, which supply the public sector, have been supplying adulterated meat products. Questions about who supplied the companies with those products remain unanswered.
“If we are to aim for a transparent food chain and full traceability, we need to know where the processed meat originated. If we are to restore consumer confidence, we must ensure that all information is available and that there is full traceability to where the horsemeat originated.”
The comments follow similar concerns raised by MPs down south in the House of Commons last week when shadow environment secretary Mary Creagh claimed that Sodexo had “refused publicly to name the products [contaminated with horse DNA…] thereby preventing other organisations from knowing whether their supplies are at risk”.
In a statement to Footprint, the caterer claimed it has “worked closely and complied fully with all Food Standards Agency requirements”. In fact, a Sodexo spokeswoman claimed the company had gone further than the FSA guidelines.
Brakes, which is the largest foodservice provider in Scotland, said it has also “provided all the relevant information to the Food Standards Agency, in order that they can fully investigate the issue”. However, a spokeswoman added that “we do not feel it is our place to publically name companies while the FSA's investigations are still ongoing".