Britain finds horsemeat in school, hospital meals

The horsemeat scandal grows ever larger now that test results are coming in Friday. Food safety officials ordered supermarkets and suppliers to test all processed meals labeled as beef for traces of horsemeat.

LONDON — Tests have found horsemeat in school meals, hospital food and restaurant dishes in Britain, spreading the scandal over adulterated meat beyond frozen supermarket products.

Results were coming Friday after food safety officials ordered supermarkets and suppliers to test all processed meals labeled as beef for traces of horsemeat.

Whitbread PLC, Britain's largest hotel and restaurant company, said horsemeat had been found in lasagna and burgers served at its Premier Inn hotels and Brewers Fayre restaurant chain.

Officials also said horsemeat was present in cottage pies delivered to 47 schools in Lancashire County, in northern England.

Horsemeat also has turned up in hospital meals in Northern Ireland. David Bingham, of the health service's Business Services Organization, said the meals, from a supplier in the Republic of Ireland, had been withdrawn.

RELATED: 3 arrested in horsemeat scandal

British police say three men have been arrested by officers investigating the burgeoning horsemeat scandal in Europe.

Police in Wales said Thursday's arrests on suspicion of fraud offenses occurred at two plants that were inspected earlier this week by the U.K.'s Food Standards Agency.

Police said two men, ages 64 and 42, were arrested at Farmbox Meats near Aberystwyth, in Wales, while a 63-year-old man was arrested at the Peter Boddy Slaughterhouse in Todmorden, West Yorkshire.

VIDEO: Arrests made in horsemeat scandal

The arrests come after Britain's food regulator said that six horse carcasses that tested positive for an equine painkiller may have entered the human food chain in France and that horsemeat tainted with the medicine may have been sold to consumers "for some time."

Also Thursday, a French investigation into a meat-labeling scandal has identified the French meat-processing company Spanghero as a likely culprit in the scandal, which has enraged consumers across Europe and implicated traders and abattoirs from Cyprus to Romania.

The French probe found that Spanghero sold horsemeat labeled as beef, French Consumer Affairs Minister Benoit Hamon said Thursday, a claim the company denied. 

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