Schoolkids still denied British beef
By Vicky Houchin
THOUSANDS of schoolchildren are still being denied the opportunity to eat the best of British beef, despite the lifting of the export ban and news that any health risk from beef on the bone has diminished.
Many local authorities are maintaining their policy of not sourcing British beef. In some cases, they are refusing to serve beef in local schools, whatever its origin.
More than 200,000 children in schools administered by Kent County Council are being deprived of the opportunity to eat any British beef products. In Birmingham, a further 164,000 school children are also being deprived beef products.
A spokesman from Surrey County Council also said that no beef products were being given to its school children. The story is the same in York – the home town of NFU president Ben Gill – where 24,800 pupils are banned from eating beef.
The Meat and Livestock Commission (MLC) is committed to persuading local authorities to change their minds.
“We have had a team of three experts, all with a wide knowledge, targeting local authorities,” said MLC chairman Don Curry. Regular presentations have already been made to highlight the safety of British beef.
To combat the reluctance of some schools to order beef, the MLC has carried out 28 surveys, in different local authorities, of parents attitudes towards British beef. It received only three negative responses.
Mr Curry said he was now enlisting the support of MPs in an attempt to get British beef back into schools. But he is still left with a hardcore of 72 authorities who are refusing to put British beef back on the menu.
In a further attempt to get British food back on to British dinnerplates, Mr Curry has written to local authorities asking them to re-consider their decision of boycotting our beef.
If British beef is good enough for Europe it should be good enough for British school children, he said.