Horse DNA found in meat in Scottish school kitchen

Horsemeat traces were found in a burger in a North Lanarkshire school. Picture: PA
Horsemeat traces were found in a burger in a North Lanarkshire school. Picture: PA
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HORSE DNA has been found in meat in a school kitchen in ­Scotland for the first time since the scandal broke out last month, it emerged last night.

Traces of horsemeat DNA were discovered in a burger among the food supplies to be served to pupils at school ­dinners in North Lanarkshire. A council spokesman said the frozen product was removed for testing last week.

In the meantime, all beef burger products have been removed from the council’s school kitchens as a “precaution”.

A spokesman said: “Samples of frozen mince removed from storage in North Lanarkshire school kitchens have tested negative for horse DNA. However, traces of horse DNA have been detected in a frozen burger removed for testing last week from a school kitchen within North Lanarkshire.

“The council has notified the Food Standards Agency, as it is required to do, and investigations are continuing. Our investigations are focussing on the use of frozen burger supplies during the past three months, the maximum length of time these would be held in storage.”

The spokesman added that the council was working closely with the Food Standards Agency and Scotland Excel, the agency which monitors procurement practices, and would continue to take any action necessary to ­“ensure the integrity of foods used in our establishments”.

The council said it disposed of 20 portions of Brakes lasagne last week after they were recalled by the catering firm.

Last night, Margaret Mitchell, Conservative MSP for Central Scotland, said she was not surprised by the discovery considering the widespread nature of the scandal.

“I’m amazed that checks and balances aren’t in place, but would say that there is nothing for parents with children in schools in North Lanarkshire to be alarmed about. I would be expecting North Lanarkshire to be checking the situation with their suppliers. But this is another indication of how widespread the problem seems to be. This is an issue which is going to surface in so many ways whether high-end restaurants downwards.”

Renfrewshire Council also announced it had removed some meat products from school kitchens and other catering premises until investigations are complete.

It said it was taking the step as a “precaution” after one of its suppliers recalled lasagne produced for another customer in order to test it for horse DNA. No horse meat has been discovered in products supplied to the council.

A council spokesman said: “One of our suppliers, the Brakes Group, has found horse DNA in lasagne produced for another customer. An investigation is under way.

The council also said its food suppliers are sourced through Scotland Excel, which deals with contracts on a national basis.

Brakes issued a statement which read: “Brakes can confirm that it has received the result of a DNA test for the Brakes-brand lasagne product it recalled as a precaution at the end of last week.

“The product has tested negative for horse meat DNA. We would like to apologise to customers who were inconvenienced, but we felt that this was the most appropriate course of action at the time.”