Monday 11 November 2019

Schools hit by horse meat scandal

Police outside a meat processing plant in Todmorden, West Yorkshire, that was raided as part of the inquiry into the horse meat scandal
Police outside a meat processing plant in Todmorden, West Yorkshire, that was raided as part of the inquiry into the horse meat scandal
George Emond of Halliwells Selkirk, in the Scottish Borders, puts up his posters advertising local butchers as the horsemeat scandal continues

Three more premises have been raided by officials investigating the horse meat scandal, it has been revealed.

Two plants in Tottenham, north London, and one in Hull, Yorkshire, were visited by the Food Standards Agency (FSA). The agency said: "FSA officers entered three premises in England with local authorities and the police; one was in Hull and two in Tottenham. Computers and documentary evidence have been removed from these premises, as well as meat samples that have been taken for testing.

"The FSA has submitted a full file and evidence on this issue to Europol. The Agency has continued to provide information to Europol, and this information has now been analysed by both Europol and law enforcement agencies in 35 countries - across Europe and elsewhere."

One of the plants raided in north London, Dinos & Sons Continental Foods, this evening confirmed it was "co-operating with local trading standards officers and the FSA".

The plant, which is based in the Millmead Industrial Estate in Tottenham, issued a statement saying: "There is no suggestion whatsoever that Dinos & Sons manufacturing processes have been compromised in any way. Tests undertaken by independent laboratories on Dinos & Sons products have proved negative to date for any contaminants, including horse meat."

The FSA released eagerly awaited test results for possible horse meat contamination. The watchdog said 2,501 tests were conducted on beef products, with 29 results positive for undeclared horse meat at or above 1%. These 29 results related to seven different products, which have already been reported and withdrawn from sale.

The products linked to the positive results were confirmed as Aldi's special frozen beef lasagne and special frozen spaghetti bolognese, the Co-op's frozen quarter pounder burgers, Findus beef lasagne, Rangeland's catering burger products, and Tesco value frozen burgers and value spaghetti bolognese.

As the results were confirmed, pub and hotel group Whitbread became the latest company to admit horse DNA had been found in its food, saying their meat lasagnes and beefburgers had been affected. The firm, which owns Premier Inn, Beefeater Grill and Brewers Fayre, said the products had been removed from their menus and will not be replaced until further testing has been carried out.

Horse meat was discovered in school dinners for the first time since the scandal began, it was also revealed. Cottage pie testing positive for horse DNA was sent to 47 Lancashire schools before being withdrawn.

Lancashire County Councillor Susie Charles, cabinet member for children and schools, said they had sought extra assurances that its external suppliers were not providing any products containing horse DNA. Testing had returned one positive result, she said.

PA Media

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