Horse meat found in school mince

Frozen mince supplied to six Scottish schools has been found to contain horse meat.

Edinburgh City Council has carried out tests on 85 meat samples taken from its catering premises since February 14 and one tested positive for the presence of horse meat.

Results showed a sample of frozen beef mince containing between 1% and 5% horse meat was taken from the shared kitchen of Pirniehall and St David's primary schools.

Council investigations revealed mince from the same batch was also supplied to Oxgangs primary school, Craigroyston primary school, Braidburn special school and Forthview primary school.

The council said it is not known whether the mince from this batch was served to pupils before the product was recalled by distributor 3663.

Catering supplies at the schools are procured by a contractor, who in turn sourced frozen mince from 3663. On March 8, the firm recalled all batches of this frozen mince beef product after one batch tested positive for horse meat. A letter has been sent to parents of pupils at each of the six schools, advising them of the test results.

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 horse meat, 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 horse meat by carrying out our own testing. 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."

Tests are also being carried out on processed meat products supplied to residential homes and other local authority establishments under the direction of the Food Standards Agency as part of their UK-wide authenticity survey.