Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Horsemeat supplied to Edinburgh primary schools

A batch of frozen mince supplied to six schools in Edinburgh contained between 1% and 5% horsemeat, the city's council has confirmed.

A sample of the meat was taken in February from the shared kitchen of Pirniehall and St David's primary schools.

The same batch was also supplied to Oxgangs and Craigroyston primaries and Braidburn and Forthview secondaries.

It is not known whether the mince was served to pupils.

A letter has been sent to parents of pupils at each of the six schools, advising them of the test results and reassuring them that there is "no risk to health from consuming horsemeat".

Councillor Cathy Fullerton, the council's vice convener of education, said: "It's very important to emphasise that there is no risk whatsoever to people's health from consuming horsemeat, 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 horsemeat by carrying out our own testing.

Frozen burger

"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."

Food at all six of the schools is procured by a contractor which operates under a public/private partnership agreement, who in turn sourced the frozen mince from catering firm 3663.

On 8 March, 3663 recalled all batches of this frozen mince beef product.

The council has been carrying out tests on meat products supplied to schools, residential homes and other local authority establishments since 14 February under the direction of the Food Standards Agency as part of their UK-wide authenticity survey.

A spokesman for the council said: "Some 85 meat product samples have been taken from council catering establishments to date and all except one have tested negative for the presence of horsemeat."

The results have been reported to the Food Standards Agency.

In February, traces of horse DNA have been found in a frozen burger within a school kitchen in North Lanarkshire.

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