COTTAGE pies delivered to 47 schools in Lancashire have tested positive for horse DNA.
The product has now been withdrawn from kitchens while headteachers have been informed.
Officials at Lancashire County Council have said provisional results of the tests on a pre-prepared cottage pie from an external supplier were reported late on Thursday evening and have been passed on to the Food Standards Agency.
Lancashire’s is one of seven laboratories in the UK accredited to carry out the tests that have been requested by 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.
It is believed scientists uncovered equine DNA at 0.1 per cent concentration in samples.
County Coun Susie Charles, cabinet member for children and schools, said: “We share the concerns people have about what is clearly a major problem in food supplies across the UK and Europe.
“Because of those concerns we decided to seek extra assurance that our external suppliers were not providing any products containing horsemeat DNA, and one of the products has returned a positive result.
“Relatively few schools in Lancashire use this particular product but our priority is to provide absolute assurance that meals contain what the label says – having discovered this one doesn’t, we have no hesitation in removing it from menus.
“This does not appear to be a food safety issue but I’ve no doubt parents will agree we need to take a very firm line with suppliers and it is a credit to our officers that we have been able to quickly identify the problem and take the product off the menus.”
Lancashire County Council is refusing to name the schools involved, do you think their stance is correct or do parents have a right to know?
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