No beef for East Ren school lunches

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SCHOOLS in East Renfrewshire have had processed red meat taken off the lunch menu amid concerns about the ongoing horse meat scandal — but menus in Glasgow schools remain unaltered.

The move follows the news that traces of horse DNA were found in a frozen burger from a school kitchen in North Lanarkshire.

The decision was taken following advice from procurement agency Scotland Excel, which recommended that Scottish councils place a hold on frozen beef burgers currently stored — although East Renfrewshire council has stated that theirs is as a precaution only.

An ERC spokeswoman told The Extra: “On Friday, February 22, the decision was taken by the director of education to withdraw all processed red meat products from its menus while this matter is being investigated.

“This action has been taken as a precautionary measure.”

She added: “Currently, just five per cent of processed red meat products feature in East Renfrewshire’s school meals.

“Many home-made red meat products, such as lasagne and steak pie, are produced using beef from local butchers which have traceable sources.”

Despite the warning from Scotland Excel, Glasgow city council has not followed suit.

A GCC spokeswoman said: “No products have been taken off the menu and our suppliers have confirmed that the products have been tested and results negative.

“We will also be carrying out our own testing as a further measure.”

The Food Standards Agency continues to investigate the levels of horse meat in the UK food chain, and Scottish schools supplier The Brakes Group has placed the burger product in question on hold.

Renfrewshire council had previously withdrawn several Brakes Group products from school canteens, after it emerged that another non-school customer had been supplied lasagne containing horse DNA – North Lanarkshire also disposed of its Brakes lasagne supply, although the company claims later tests on the product were negative.

Commenting on the result from the kitchen of Cumbernauld high school, rural affairs secretary Richard Lochhead said that it was “unacceptable” of the supplier, and added: “Of the thousands of tests, this is the first positive result in our schools – but it is one too many.”

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