Allegations confirmed by Woburn and Central Beds Council - but bosses stress there was no health risk to customers
Woburn Safari Park used food in the public canteen which was donated to feed animals, it has been confirmed.
The incident came to light following a complaint to Central Bedfordshire Council by a member of the public, who we have agreed not to name.
Woburn have confirmed that the allegations are true, but insist the event was a one-off and there was no health risk to anyone who ate the food.
In September last year, potatoes and onions, which would not have been suitable for feeding to animals, were used to make dishes which were served to paying members of the public.
Central Bedfordshire Council investigated the incident and confirmed to the complainant that they were true.
The letter of response, from council officer Sally Goodchild, read: "Our investigation show that this appears to relate to an occasion where a one-off donation from a company was involved.
"I have been told that only potatoes and onions were used - presumably as these items were not suitable for animal feed- so a decision was made to use them for the restaurant."
She added: "The problem, which I think was also of concern to you, was that the chef collected the veg from the animal area, and this raises issues of biosecurity and cross contamination.
"This would need to addressed via retraining and reviewing of procedures.
"To that end I have asked for the HACCP to be reviewed as a matter of routine and expanded to include donations such as this, although I have been assured that it was a one-off and lessons learnt from it."
A spokesman for Woburn Safari Park, which has been open since 1970, also stressed that the incident was a one-off and the food was fit for human consumption.
He said: "In September 2009, Woburn Safari Park received a one-off delivery of surplus fresh vegetables from a company due to a stock overbooking.
"The produce, always intended for human consumption, was within its sell-by dates so common sense was applied, allowing the kitchen to use those vegetables that did not suit the dietary requirements of the animals (specifically: potatoes and onions) to avoid waste.
"At no point was there a risk to food safety or cross-contamination.
"The vegetables were delivered directly to the kitchen as a normal delivery would be."
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