Horsemeat food is removed from local care homes and hospitals

BURGERS thought to be tainted by horsemeat have been withdrawn from Craigavon Hospital and Trust-run nursing homes across the borough.

One range of burger has been removed from a range of health facilities including hospitals and care facilities, according to the Business Services Organisation (BSO).

The Times spoke to the trust about the horsemeat scandal asking if meat had been served to patients and staff.

However a spokesperson said the matter was being dealt with by the BSC, a branch of the Department of Health with buys food for hospitals and other organisations.

A BSCO spokesperson said: “The BSO as the lead body for the procurement of fresh, frozen and ready meals for the Health and Social Care (HSC) has measures in place to audit and assure the quality and providence of food supplies.

“In addition to our normal safeguards BSO has put in place a series of measures to ensure that we can maintain confidence in the food chain.

“We are working with the Foods Standard Agency and our suppliers to ensure that we have the most up to date information on quality of supply.

“We have acted immediately to remove one range of beef burger from health and social care facilities, this was on the advice of the FSA and the food supplier.

“We will remain vigilant as the results of further testing become available and ensure that we can maintain confidence in the food that our Trusts provide to patients and clients.”

When the Times asked the Health Board for a statement on the safety of food at hospitals and facilities which cater for food within the health sector, the press officer refered the Times to a statement from the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI).

The statement said: “The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) confirms that it has been notified by Rangeland Foods that it is withdrawing some batches of burger products which contained beef supplied from Poland that it produced for the catering and wholesale sectors.

“This withdrawal is as a result of some batches of its burger product that have tested positive in the UK for between five per cent and 30 per cent horse meat.

“These products were sold to the catering and wholesale sectors and have been distributed to Ireland, the UK, Spain, France, Germany and The Netherlands.

“Rangeland Foods has confirmed to the FSAI that it has notified its customers that would have received these implicated products and a withdrawal is taking place. As is the protocol in food withdrawals, if these suppliers have subsequently traded these products onwards to other food businesses, they are compelled to notify them to ensure that a swift withdrawal is undertaken across the market.

“The FSAI is issuing a food alert for Ireland and will notify the European Commission via the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed about the exported product. The FSAI will continue to work with Rangeland Foods to ensure that all implicated product is removed from the market.”

Meanwhile Ulster Unionist MLA Jo-Anne Dobson has urged the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) Minister to spearhead an initiative to restore consumer confidence to avoid irreparable damage following the horsemeat scandal.