Horse meat in beef mince supplied to Edinburgh school

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Mince supplied to a primary school kitchen in Edinburgh, Scotland, contained horse meat, according to authorities.

The meat went to the shared kitchen of Pirniehall and St David’s primary schools.

The same batch was also supplied to a further four primary school kitchens, Oxgangs PS, Craigroyston PS, Braidburn SS and Forthview PS.

It was not possible to confirm whether mince from this batch was served to pupils before the product recall, the City of Edinburgh Council said.

Tests carried out by the council confirmed that a batch of frozen mince containing between 1 per cent and 5 per cent horse meat was supplied to one of the city’s primary schools prior to the product being recalled by the distributor, food-service wholesaler 3663, on March 8.

Since 14 February, scientists at the council’s Edinburgh Scientific Services laboratory have been undertaking a testing programme of meat products under the direction of the Food Standards Agency as part of that agency’s UK-wide authenticity survey.

In addition, the laboratory is also carrying out testing of processed meat products supplied to schools, residential homes and other council establishments.

Eighty-five meat product samples have been taken from council catering establishments to date and all except one have tested negative for horse meat.

Results now available from a sample of frozen beef mince taken in late February from the shared kitchen of Pirniehall & St David’s Primary Schools show that it contained the horse meat, the council said.

The results have been reported to the Food Standards Agency.

Catering supplies at Edinburgh’s PPP1 primary schools are procured by a contractor, who in turn sourced frozen mince from 3663.

On March 8, 3663 recalled all batches of this frozen mince beef product after one batch tested positive for horse meat.

Council investigations have established that mince from this batch was also supplied to a further four PPP1 primary school kitchens, namely Oxgangs PS, Craigroyston PS, Braidburn SS and Forthview PS.

A letter from Mike Rosendale, Head of Schools and Community Services, has been sent to parents of pupils at each of the six schools in question, advising them of the test results and reassuring them that there is no risk to health from consuming horse meat.

Councillor Cathy Fullerton, vice convener of education, said: “It’s very important to emphasise that there is no risk whatsoever to people’s health from consuming horse meat, but obviously we all want to be certain that we know exactly what we are eating.

“This is why the council chose to seek extra assurance that our external suppliers were not providing any products containing horse meat by carrying out our own testing.

“Parents can be reassured that we have taken absolutely the correct course of action in immediately making sure there is none of this frozen mince remaining in school kitchens.

“We have written to all parents in the six schools to let them know about this and will be happy to discuss any further queries they may have.”

The revelation is the latest twist in the horse-meat contamination scandal that has resulted in the recalls of tens of millions of ready-to-eat meals across at least a dozen European states.

The scandals has highlighted the complexity of the food chain and dented consumer confidence.

 

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