Horse Meat in School Meals and Hospital Dinners Cause Public Uproar

First Posted: Feb 15, 2013 03:27 PM EST

There isn't just horse meat in burgers. There's also horsemeat in school meals in the UK. Just this Friday, officials from the Food Standards Agency were able to confirm that school dinners and hospital meals contained traces of the unwanted ingredient.

Processed beef dishes sold in supermarkets were tested for traces of horsemeat. Officials found that a total of 2 percent contained the undesired meat. Yet as those results were announced, it turned out that this meat wasn't only sold in supermarkets. It also spread to public sector caterers and major restaurant chains owned by Whitbread, Britain's largest hotel group.

Now, cottage pies that were destined to be delivered to 47 schools across the country are being recalled after testing positive for horse meat. Currently, it's unclear how long the contaminated food has been delivered to schools or how many students may have eaten the meat.

It's not only these schools that have been affected, though. In Northern Ireland, burgers that were meant to be delivered to hospitals were also recalled after they were found to contain equine DNA. In addition, the food giant, Compass, which supplies over 7000 sites in the UK and Ireland, announced that its own burger that it supplied to two schools and to small offices tested positive.

This announcement is just the latest in a string of horse meat-related scandals that have rocked the UK. At the beginning of February, Burger King announced that it had found horse meat in its own burgers. Silvercrest, Bruger King's supplier, used a small percentage of its beef imported from a non-approved supplier in Poland--supposedly one of the sources for the disliked ingredient. In addition, Tesco, the massive supermarket chain, also announced that its patties had traces of horse meat.

This new revelation only confirms that the public often isn't aware of what goes into their food. Food-associated diseases such as salmonella and norovirus continue to work their ways across the globe, reminding us that it's important to scrutinize the products that we consume.

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