The county council has issued an assurance about the sourcing of its meat for schools, following concerns raised by the Conservatives.
Group leader Coun Peter Jackson claimed that it was ‘widely rumoured’ that meat was being sourced from Eastern Europe and Africa and that the current horsemeat scandal put these concerns to the fore.
“On the one hand, the council is promoting local produce to support local people in the local economy,” he said. “Yet I fear that the reality is that, just as Tesco has been found to be selling imported horsemeat, our council is merely going for the cheapest, rather than looking at the quality of its supply.”
But a council spokeswoman told the Gazette: “Northumberland County Council delivers school-meal services to approximately 54 per cent of schools in Northumberland.
“The council sources meat from a local supplier who utilises abattoirs located within the North East of England.
“This supplier was selected following a robust regional procurement exercise.
“Their processes and that of their whole supply chain are inspected and assured by the Soil Association, with all meat certified by Red Tractor and the Farm Assured standard.”