Burgers removed from all NI school menus

Published Thursday, 14 February 2013
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Burgers have been removed from the menu of all schools across Northern Ireland after horse DNA was found in the supply chain.

Burgers removed from all NI school menus
Burgers have been taken off some school menus in NI. (© Getty)

The Department of Education said the move was a precautionary step and the Food Standards Agency confirmed there is no health risk from the products.

"The Department has been advised that a supplier of frozen burgers to Education and Library Boards has instigated a full product recall following detection of trace amounts of equine DNA in the supply chain," said a Department of Education spokesman.

"This is a precautionary step and the Food Standards Agency has confirmed that there is no food safety or health risk from the products."

The department spokesman added that the position is "being kept under review".

The North Eastern Education and Library Board stopped serving burgers earlier this month, while they had recently been reinstated onto menus at the Southern Education and Library Board.

But the Department of Health confirmed burgers are currently not being offered at any schools across Northern Ireland.

Authorities in Britain and France are trying to trace the carcasses of six horses contaminated with phenylbutazone - or bute - which were slaughtered in a UK abattoir and may have entered the human food chain across the Channel.

The drug, which is potentially harmful to human health, was detected in eight horses out of 206 tested by the FSA in the first week of this month.

Two were intercepted and destroyed before leaving the slaughterhouse but the other six were sent to France, where horse meat is commonly eaten.

FSA chief executive Catherine Brown said the agency increased testing of horse carcasses over a three-month period last year after intelligence from abattoirs suggested bute was getting into the food chain.

Of 63 tested, four were found positive for the painkiller, prompting the FSA to start testing 100% of horse meat in January, which revealed the eight contaminated carcasses.

On Wednesday, European Commissioner for Health, Tonio Borg, proposed that EU members should carry out thousands of random tests for traces of horse, and bute, over a period of three months from March. The early results would be revealed in April.

It is expected the plan will be endorsed when it is put to a meeting of the EU's Standing Committee on the Food Chain.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
4 Comments
jim in s'land wrote (616 days ago):
@Gerry, the meat was withdrawn as ot may cause horseburger syndrome.
Belfast in Belfast wrote (616 days ago):
I travel all over the world and i must say ive eat some strange things. Really i have eat all sorts of stuff like cooked bugs Spiders Rat Horse Ive tryed monkey and dog in thailand. Really people if there was no way for you to get food for the next year what would you live on? By the way rabbit is really nice if you had it with a curry or some sort of sause you would think it was chicken. Maybe the shops should sell some of this stuff to help people see that its ok to eat. If you every get the chance try it you might find out other food is not that bad. At the end of the day god only knows what is in a £1 dinner im sure there is worse than horse meat in them.
Jan in Belfast wrote (617 days ago):
Well Gerry i would say it might have something to do with the fact people dont want their children eating horses!! Regardless if its safe to eat!!! A rabbit is safe to eat, doesnt mean i would eat it!!! The burgers are ment to be beef, so they are checking that they ARE beef before feeding rhem to our children!
Gerry Brown in Greysteel Derry wrote (617 days ago):
Why in God's name did the government withdraw meat from schools, when no longer ago than yesterday the minister said it was safe to eat meat which came from government doctors... So can UTV please get back to me and don't ignore me as you did in the past, and let me know why this meat was withdrawn even thought it was safe to eat.
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