Horse meat cottage pie withdrawn from 47 Lancashire schools after testing positive for equine DNA

By Henry Vaughan

A cottage pie supplied to 47 school kitchens was withdrawn by Lancashire County Council after testing positive for traces of horse DNA yesterday.

The provisional tests on the pre-prepared beef product from an outside supplier were reported late last night and passed on to the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

The news comes after the county council’s catering service submitted a range of beef products for analysis by Lancashire County Scientific Service after growing concerns over contaminated horsemeat.

County Councillor Susie Charles, cabinet member for children and schools, said: “We share the concerns people have about what is clearly a major problem in food supplies across the UK and Europe.

“Because of those concerns we decided to seek extra assurance that our external suppliers were not providing any products containing horsemeat DNA, and one of the products has returned a positive result.

“Relatively few schools in Lancashire use this particular product but our priority is to provide absolute assurance that meals contain what the label says – having discovered this one doesn’t, we have no hesitation in removing it from menus.

“This does not appear to be a food safety issue but I’ve no doubt parents will agree we need to take a very firm line with suppliers and it is a credit to our officers that we have been able to quickly identify the problem and take the product off the menus.”

Lancashire is one of seven UK laboratories accredited to carry out tests requested by the FSA.

Picture courtesy of f_shields, with thanks.

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