Butchers in ‘trust us’ call amid horse meat scandal

Local butchers have been sharing a “trust us” message with customers as the horse meat controversy escalated across the country.

As parents of pupils at 47 Lancashire primary schools digested the news that their children may have eaten horse-meat in school dinners, local butchers were quick to remind shoppers that it’s important to buy meat from sources which offer full traceability of supplies.

For Garstang market butcher Roy Scott, the best advice is to avoid processed meats unless you know their full provenance. He said the current crisis has its origins in the constant drive for cheaper meat.

“This was a disaster waiting to happen, but it should never have happened. It’s a serious lack of control very very high up the ladder of inspection - certainly on imports,” he added.

Roy’s stall carries a sign indicating the name of the farm most of his meat comes from, and walking round the counter he can identify with confidence the exact sources of all products.

He questioned how other bigger businesses escaped the checks small suppliers are subject to, adding: “The bulk of our meat comes from Corney Hill Farm at Quernmore.”

Meanhwile brothers Anthony and John Gornall who run the 30-year Honeywell’s business at Woodplumpton say since the scandal broke, they have sold more minced beef and beefburgers.

John said: “We run a small farm here ourselves and buy stock from Brockholes Auction Mart, a farmers’ co-operative where we buy live animals from a trusted chain,”

Supermarket Booths confirmed that it only sourced fresh beef from the UK, from trusted farmers and carefully controlled its supply chain.

To comply with Government demands, the company tested its own-label ready meals and said all test results were clear of horsemeat.

The County Council is still declining to name the schools where it believes horse meat was served up in cottage pies.

A spokesman said the schools were informed last Friday of the news and parents will have been informed. He added: “It’s certainly the case that the children have been eating these cottage pies so we think they will have eaten a small amount of horse meat.”

He added that the schools affected were those with small kitchen facilities.