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Highland schools warned to stock up on meat after Dingwall butcher John M Munro declines to renew contract

By Val Sweeney

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The John M Munro butcher shop in Dingwall.
The John M Munro butcher shop in Dingwall.

School canteens could soon run out of meat after a local butcher declined to tender to renew a contract with Highland Council – which it has had for more than 40 years.

Schools have been warned to start stocking up on meat as a 'precaution' in case the local authority is unable to find a new supplier for after the Easter holidays.

It is not clear why Dingwall-based John M Munro Ltd refused to tender for the contract but the move effectively ends its association with the council.

Munro’s managing director Charlie Munro said the firm was 'grateful' to have worked with the local authority for so long and wished it well in finding a new supplier, adding it twice extended the contract during the height of the Covid pandemic.

“John M Munro Ltd has been supplying fresh meat to Highland Council’s school kitchens for more than 40 years,” he said. “However, we decided not to tender for the latest contract when it fell due for renewal.

“Nothing was cancelled, and in fact the old contract was extended twice to ensure that deliveries continued right through the Covid pandemic.

“We are very grateful to have had such a long association with the ‘Dinner Ladies’ and we wish them well with their new supplier.”

The council must now rush to find a new supplier – something it has not been able to do as yet – or supplies of meat in schools could run low.

A council spokeswoman said: “The council is working hard to secure an alternative supplier for butchermeat products for schools following the Easter holiday period, and hope to confirm these arrangements shortly.

“As a precautionary measure, schools have been advised to increase their reserve stock and the council will provide an update to schools when further information is available.”

The council’s education committee chairman John Finlayson said: “It is disappointing to hear that a long established company like Munro’s is not working with the council in the future.

“I was a pupil in Broadford Primary School in the early 1960s when Munro’s started operating in Broadford and I have long admired the growth of the company and the great service they have given the council and it is sad to see the long association come to an end.”

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