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16 September 2010, 17:35
Woburn Safari Park has been defending itself after it was revealed food which had been donated to the animals there was served in its restaurant.
The incident happened in September 2009. A courier company which had been taking vegetables to a nearby supermarket got in touch with the park, after being told a double delivery had been made so the food was going spare.
Officials at the park decided some of the food - namely potatoes and onions - was unsuitable for the animals to eat so could instead be used by the restaurant, to prevent it going to waste.
Drew Mullin - the General Manager at Woburn - told Heart:
"The stock was palletised and shrink wrapped. It was as it would be received at a supermarket. It was actually unloaded from the lorry in an area which was not anywhere near the animal food area. It was then taken to the restaurant. At no point was there any cross-contamination."
The park says the incident was a one-off, but Mr Mullin admits if they received an offer of free food like this again, it wouldn't get to the kitchen:
"Unfortunately some of the stocks last year would have ended up in the waste heap and that's why we used common sense to use some of it - which was in date, ready for consumption. But next time we would only take the stocks that we could manage."
The incident was reported to Central Bedfordshire Council, which says it has been investigated.
In a statement David McVicar - the Portfolio Holder for Safer Communities and Healthier Lifestyles at the council said:
"We understand that this was an isolated incident and we have received no further complaints of a similar nature, but our officers did discuss with the operators measures to tighten up their procedures in this area.
"Woburn is routinely inspected by the council, and have recorded good levels of food hygiene with high confidence in management, and good safe systems in place. As the incident happened some time ago and as Woburn Safari Park have implemented the improvements that were recommended to them, we now consider the matter closed. We will continue to monitor the cafe with unannounced inspections as we do with all food outlets."