Horsemeat in Edinburgh schools shows need for food rethink

Alison Johnstone, Green MSP for Lothian and food spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, says the confirmation that horsemeat was found in mince supplied to an Edinburgh school is further proof that we need to rethink our approach to food.

Alison said:

“This latest revelation will be a great worry for parents and it proves we need greater investment and increased traceability in our publicly-procured meals. The council’s website claims that it uses local suppliers for meat so it is extremely important we are told what has gone wrong.

“I have real concerns about the way our schools have moved away from real meals cooked in proper kitchens to ready meals heated up in microwaves. It’s also hard to have confidence when the many of our schools are supplied by massive companies who describe themselves as strategic outsourcing providers rather than caterers, and whose main motive is profit. This isn’t exactly suprising as public procurement favours cheaper bids.

“In recent months in parliament I have highlighted the Soil Association’s Food for Life programme which currently ensures one in ten schools in Scotland has confidence about where its food comes from. I again urge ministers to increase their support for the scheme and encourage local authorities to adopt it.”

On 14 March Green councillor Chas Booth also secured City Council support for his motion to investigate the possibility of horsemeat in Edinburgh schools and measures to accelerate the provision of fresh locally-sourced food.