Cottage pies containing horsemeat DNA withdrawn from Lancashire schools

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SCHOOL dinners found to contain traces of horsemeat have been withdrawn from 47 schools in Lancashire.

The beef cottage pies tested positive for horse DNA in preliminary tests on meals from an external supplier.

But Lancashire County Council officials have acted to remove the pre-prepared meals from school kitchens across the county.

The authority has passed the results on to officials at the Food Standards Agency.

County Coun. 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.”

Since concerns over the contamination of horsemeat arose, Lancashire County Scientific Service has played a key role in the analysis of beef products.

Lancashire’s is one of seven laboratories in the UK accredited to carry out the tests that have been requested by the Food Standards Agency.

In response to those concerns the county council’s catering service submitted a range of beef products from its suppliers to be analysed by Lancashire County Scientific Services, in accordance with Food Standards Agency guidelines.