18:19 Monday 04 March 2013

Beef removed from schools as horse DNA found

Written byRICH GUTTRIDGE

MINCED beef has been taken off the menu at schools in North West Leicestershire after it was found to contain horse DNA.

The product has been withdrawn after results of testing on the meat confirmed the presence of horse.

Beef remains off the menu at schools in Burton while council chiefs in Staffordshire await the results of their own tests.

Leicestershire County Council confirmed the beef would be permanently removed from all schools in the county after it was found to contain nearly one per cent horse.

Another tested meat product, a grill beef steak, was found to be clear and is to be reinstated in schools.

Meanwhile, results of beef tested from retail outlets in the county, such as supermarkets and takeaways, were found to contain no traces of horse, though a trace of pork was found in two of the batches which the council said ‘may currently be in the supply chain’.

Council chiefs moved to reassure parents that there was no risk to children.

Wendy Philp, head of school food at Leicestershire County Council, said: “Following the outcome of the tests, we’ve moved quickly and taken prudent action and won’t be using this product in the future.

“We want to reassure parents that there is no health risk and that we’re satisfied with the quality of all the beef products we serve.

“The vast majority of food we supply is Red Tractor assured and we will continue to regularly seek assurances from our school food suppliers to ensure that they comply with legislation.”

David Bull, head of Leicestershire’s trading standards service, said he appreciated the discovery of pork in beef products would cause concern for shoppers.

He said: “This is obviously a concern for some consumers. The suppliers will need to decide what action to take with regard to products that may currently be in the supply chain.”

Mr Bull added that a full investigation would be launched by trading standards.

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