School dinners hit by horse meat scandal
HORSE meat has been discovered in school dinners for the first time since the scandal began, it has been revealed.
The news that cottage pie testing positive for horse DNA was sent to 47 Lancashire schools came as the Food Standards Agency (FSA) published results of widespread testing into meat products.
The FSA said 2,501 tests have been carried out on beef products, with 29 results positive for undeclared horse meat at or above 1 per cent.
These 29 results related to seven different products, which have already been reported and withdrawn from sale.
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The products linked to the positive results were confirmed to be Aldi's special frozen beef lasagne and special frozen spaghetti bolognese, the Co-op's frozen quarter pounder burgers, Findus beef lasagne, Rangeland's catering burger products, and Tesco value frozen burgers and value spaghetti bolognese.
As the results were confirmed, pub and hotel group Whitbread became the latest company to admit horse DNA had been found in its food, saying their meat lasagnes and beefburgers had been affected.
The firm, which owns Premier Inn, Beefeater Grill and Brewers Fayre, said the products had been removed from their menus and will not be replaced until further testing has been carried out.
In another development as the scandal deepened, it was revealed that burgers containing horse meat have been supplied to hospitals in Northern Ireland.
David Bingham from the health service's Business Services Organisation, which provides meat for the health trusts, said a range from a company in the Republic of Ireland had been withdrawn.
"We have acted immediately; as soon as we got information there may be a confidence issue we withdrew the product," he said.
Lancashire County Council said yesterday that it had withdrawn pre-prepared cottage pies from 47 school kitchens.
Councillor Susie Charles, Cabinet member for children and schools, said they had sought extras assurance that external suppliers were not providing affected products.
Testing had returned one positive result, she said. "Relatively few schools in Lancashire use this particular product but our priority is to provide absolute assurance."
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