Downing St cannot rule out horsemeat is in school and hospital meals.
Horsemeat could be being fed to unwitting children and patients after the Government refused to guarantee the authenticity of school and hospital beef.
Asked repeatedly whether horsemeat was being served in schools and hospitals, a Number 10 spokesman declined to say whether horsemeat was being served.
A spokesman said: “I would point you to a statement from the FSA [Food Standards Agency] that they are looking into what is in these various products to ensure they meet authenticity tests.”
Downing Street insisted that while the scandal was “distasteful” there was no risk to public safety. She said: “There is nothing to suggest any health risk from the products that have been identified.”
Asked whether Prime Minister David Cameron would eat “processed beef products”, she added: “I haven’t asked the PM myself. Our advice is to follow advice of FSA.”
Number 10 added that Mr Cameron had confidence in Owen Paterson, the Environment secretary, to tackle the problem.