Horse meat in school meals has been found in Britain in an ever-widening food safety scandal, one that arose when trace amounts of equine DNA was discovered to be part of the composition of supermarket burgers.
The latest development of horse meat in school meals follows the discovery that a popular brand of lasagna contained not just trace levels of horse meat, but contained mostly the flesh of horses rather than beef. Horse meat in and of itself is not considered unsafe (albeit many people prefer not to eat it), but there is significant concern surrounding contamination with medications used commonly in horses posing a threat to human health if eaten.
After the lasagna discovery, horse meat in school meals was uncovered, served in dishes like cottage pies. The UK’s Telegraph reports that horse meat in school meals was definitively proven to have been at issue in Lancashire, where further testing is underway by local food safety agencies following the report.
The paper quotes Tom Walker, a spokesman for the local council, who confirmed the findings of horse meat in school meals:
“Lancashire County Council has withdrawn a beef product from 47 school kitchens after it provisionally tested positive for traces of horse DNA… The provisional results of the tests on a pre-prepared cottage pie from an external supplier were reported late yesterday evening, February 14, and have been passed on to the Food Standards Agency.”
“The county council’s catering service submitted a range of beef products from its suppliers to be analysed by Lancashire County Scientific Services, in accordance with Food Standards Agency guidelines.”
However, horse meat in school meals and other institutions such as hospitals does not seem to be the apex of the food safety scandal — Duncan Campbell, a senior British food inspector, admitted he believes “there will be still more discoveries to be made.”