Beef burgers to stay on Derry’s school menus

Beef burgers will continue to be served in Derry schools despite the ongoing horse meat scandal.

A Western Education and Library Board (WELB) spokeswoman said the education authority has “no plans to withdraw beef burgers from their menus.”

Two of the north’s five education and library boards have withdrawn beef burgers from school menus.

It emerged yesterday that the Southern Board took burgers off its menu last month, and on Wednesday the South Eastern Board followed suit.

The Southern Board has since reinstated burgers onto the menu but it has now also been confirmed that the North Eastern Board removed burgers from its schools earlier this month.

In a statement the North Eastern Board said:”As a result of current issues with regard to meat processing, the catering service felt it appropriate not to offer steak burgers as a menu choice with effect from 6th February 2013, until further clarification is obtained from our suppliers”.

But the Western Board - who oversee education in Derry, Limavady and Strabane - said while they continue to monitor the situation burgers stay on the menu.

The WELB spokeswoman said:“Based on current information and assurances provided by their suppliers the Board has no plans to withdraw beef burgers from their menus. The situation is being closely monitored and if circumstances change further action may be taken. It should be noted that with the introduction of Nutritional Standards the vast majority of meals offered to pupils are freshly cooked using fresh local produce.”

Earlier this week the north’s Farming minister Michelle O’Neill held a meeting with the major supermarkets.

“I stressed to the supermarket representatives that 2012 was an exceptionally difficult year for our farmers, with incomes falling dramatically due to an number of factors out of their control,” she said. “The horsemeat controversy is therefore a very unwelcome development so early in the new year and it is essential that the major supermarkets take this into consideration when dealing with the fallout from this serious issue for the industry.”