Inspectors to target scores of meat premises in the North
MORE than 100 premises across Northern Ireland are set to be inspected as the horse meat scandal continued to spread.
The Food Standards Agency has confirmed that 90 premises involved in preparing and producing meat will be inspected, along with up to 30 cold stores here.
Whitbread – one of Britain's largest hotel chains – was the latest company embroiled in the scandal yesterday.
The company, which owns the Premier Inn chain, confirmed the discovery of equine meat in its beef lasagne and burgers, triggering the withdrawal of the products from menus at eight Premier Inns in Northern Ireland.
Compass Group, one of the UK's biggest school food providers, says it found between 5pc and 30pc horse DNA in burgers it sold in Northern Ireland and the Republic. The company has declined to confirm which outlets it supplies in Northern Ireland.
Compass owns Eurest, a catering company which is contracted to provide food to the Northern Ireland Assembly.
The Food Standards Agency has said 29 samples – or 1pc – of more than 2,500 beef products tested across the UK contained horse meat, in the latest wave of results released yesterday.
The 29 positive results were on seven previously withdrawn products, which were produced by Aldi, Findus, Co-operative, Rangeland and Tesco
At least 950 tests are still underway UK-wide, including 20 tests on meat products other than beef.
Gerry McCurdy, director of the Food Standards Agency in Northern Ireland, has said that more inspections are set to roll out across Northern Ireland.
He said: "Approximately 90 meat preparation and meat production premises will have inspections of these premises. And (at) approximately 20 to 30 cold stores.
Robert Cameron, a lecturer in environmental health at the University of Ulster, said the horse meat scandal will not be stemmed until authorities can confirm the source of all contaminated meat.
"We need to trace it back and find out where it's (contaminated meat consignments) from and why it is going into the food chain," he said.
This is still part of the FSA's investigation.
It emerged this week that hospitals and schools serving thousands of children and patients have been pulled into the scandal.
The Business Services Organisation, the leading food provider for Northern Ireland's health trusts, has withdrawn a range of burgers from hospitals after they were found to contain horse meat. They were supplied by Rangeland, a company based in the Republic.