SCHOOL meals are being tested for horsemeat after environment chiefs ordered the city council to analyse its entire food supply chain.
Hundreds of samples will be taken from school canteens, leisure centres, tourist attractions, care homes and meat processing plants across the Capital.
Trading Standards officers are also to collect specimens from wholesalers, contractors and other food suppliers.
The city council said there was no evidence to suggest horse DNA was likely to be found in food it provides. It is understood that testing is being carried out at the council’s public analyst laboratory at Edinburgh University.
Two seperate rounds of investigations have been ordered by the Food Standards Authority (FSA). The first is part of an authenticity survey involving 28 local authorities across the UK – Edinburgh and Stirling are the only two Scottish councils to take part.
Specialised analytical techniques will be used to identify horse or pig DNA in a range of beef products. Test results will be published in early April.
FSA Scotland has also asked every local authority in Scotland to visit approved meat processing establishments to conduct a full audit of compliance against food standard requirements.
The city council said its school meals were provided by three suppliers – Edinburgh Catering Services, Amey and Mitie – which sub-contract to catering firm Chartwells.
A spokeswoman said: “There is no evidence to suggest any of the implicated meat processing companies are part of the food supply chain to the City of Edinburgh Council. However, as a precautionary measure we are taking various samples which are being analysed to ensure there are no issues with their composition.
“We will continue to liaise with the Food Standards Agency regarding all the latest available advice and information.”
If horsemeat is found, it is understood the council will take immediate action to remove it from the food supply chain and identify the source.
A spokesman for teaching union the Educational Institute of Scotland said: “Ensuring that the food consumed within school dining halls is safe and of good quality must always be a high priority for local authorities and, in this case, it seems that Edinburgh City Council is taking sensible precautions.”
Asda withdraws bolognese
ASDA has withdrawn its own-brand spaghetti bolognese after it became the latest product found to contain horsemeat.
The 500g beef bolognese sauce was pulled from the shelves and a further three beef products made by the same supplier, Greencore, have also been removed.
Sainsbury’s and the Co-op said they are also supplied by Greencore. Tests are being carried out by Sainsbury’s, which said Greencore used a different beef supplier for its products.
The Co-op said Greencore supplies six pasta sauces, but none of these include beef. It is to announce the results of testing on its beef products later today.
Three men – including the owner of a meat processing plant - have so far been arrested in relation to the scandal.