ROAST beef is being taken off the menu at schools and nursing homes across Flintshire.
Flintshire Council yesterday confirmed it is withdrawing all beef from its menus as the fallout from the horsemeat scandal continues.
This means pupils at schools and residents at nursing homes will no longer find food such as cooked beef, minced beef, diced beef and roast beef on the menu.
Beefburgers had already been removed before the authority withdrew all other beef as a “precautionary measure”.
Tom Davies, Flintshire’s head of development and resources, said: “Due to the continuing concerns with horsemeat contamination of beef products within the UK, Flintshire Council has decided to take the precautionary measure of withdrawing all beef produce from all schools and Flintshire-run residential care homes.”
Neighbouring Wrexham Council and Cheshire West and Chester Council will be keeping beef on the menu.
Cllr Kevin Jones, Flintshire Council’s cabinet member for public protection, added: “Flintshire Council takes its responsibility on providing fresh, quality food to its schoolchildren and the elderly in its care very seriously. We have taken this precautionary measure to ensure the quality of food within our schools and care homes is being maintained.”
However the move has prompted some butchers and farmers in the region to say the authority may have over-reacted.
Clifford Williams, of Williams and Bonham butchers, Mold, said: “It seems a bit over the top really.
“You could understand if it was just frozen beef because a lot of it comes from abroad but if it’s fresh beef I can’t see the point.”
Treuddyn farmer Clive Swann, of the NFU, said: “This definitely seems an over-reaction but you can also understand it because they have got to check what they have got.
“But if you take beef off the menu what do you replace it with?
“I would like to see a return to when the schools were responsible for their own food. If the individual schools source the products themselves I do not believe you would have the same issues.”
Gwynfor Jones, NFU group secretary for Flintshire and Wrexham, said he could understand the move.
He said: “They have to follow procedures to make sure everything is safe. I think if it is proper beef then it should still be on the menu but if its origins are dubious then you can see why it may be removed.”
While Flintshire has taken the step of removing all beef, Wrexham Council, which uses a different supplier to Flintshire, is continuing to serve beef although beefburgers were removed as a precaution and returned to the supplier.
A spokesman said: “Wrexham Council has food procurement procedures in place to ensure the food they are providing to schools, the elderly and others is safe and of the quality and standard with which it is labelled.
“Suppliers who may be affected by these recent findings have been written to and asked to provide a statement detailing their actions and confirmation products supplied have not been contaminated.”
The spokesman said officers will continue to monitor the situation.
A Cheshire West and Chester Council spokesman said no fresh beef has been taken off the menu by the authority, which uses three Cheshire suppliers of fresh meat who source their produce directly from local farms.