No horsemeat in Cambridge!

Ashley Chhibber 8 March 2013

Unlike Findus lasagne and Ikea meatballs, Cambridge colleges remain unaffected by the recent horsemeat scandal. The Cambridge Student has spoken to College catering departments and the external companies they use, to investigate the safety of their meat. TCS received confirmation that they were all taking strong preventative measures long before the scandal broke, and remain unaffected by the problems faced elsewhere.

Robinson College, which prides itself on the strength of its catering department, told TCS that there are plenty of checks and preventative measures in place to protect students from contaminated meat, affirming that: “The agent has a full time quality assurance unit to ensure that College purchases are of the highest standard.

“We have sought assurances from all our suppliers that food delivered to colleges has not been contaminated. All responses received so far confirm that our suppliers are extremely confident that their beef products are free from horse or pork contamination and have full traceability.”

Andrews of Cambridge, who supply most of Robinson’s meat, confirmed that the Food Standards Authority (FSA) do not believe their food to be at all problematic: “Andrews of Cambridge do not and have never had any dealings with any suppliers who deal in horse meat. We have declarations from all our suppliers confirming this and also have clarification from the FSA (ref: 702397) that we are not required to DNA test our beef burgers as they are made in house using fully traceable fresh beef.”

Pembroke College, under the leadership of Catering Manager David Harwood, became the first College in the UK to become entirely free-range. He told TCS that most colleges “purchase food commodities from reputable, local suppliers. These suppliers are each rigorously audited by Acquire Services Limited, the purchase agent for the University.

“Pembroke College purchase only fresh meat, exclusively from local suppliers. This meat, when required for burgers, meatballs, lasagne etc, is minced in-house, ensuring our food contains no unwanted added ingredients.”

At King’s College, options on the lunch and dinner menus are colour-coded according to the location from which the “majority of ingredients in dish” are “sourced, produced and delivered”.

Unfortunately, most colleges are not quite so clear on defining meals in this manner, a key issue when the greatest protection against contaminated meat has thus far been the use of local produce.

Ashley Chhibber