i-Independent Print Ltd
January 25, 2013
Safety tests on horse meat in Britain have revealed the presence of a banned veterinary drug which causes cancer in humans, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) admitted yesterday.
Phenylbutazone or 'bute' –which is legally used to treat sore joints in horses but outlawed from entering the human food chain—was detected by the FSA in eight cases at UK abattoirs last year.
The FSA said that the contaminated meat had not been eaten in Britain and stressed that no trace of phenylbutazone had been found in the beefburgers contaminated with horse DNA.
However it admitted that the illegal batches had evaded the controls in place and been sent abroad for human consumption.
Chris Elliott, Director of the Institute for Global Food Security at Queen's University Belfast, said that the risk to the consumer from drug residues was "low."
He added: "However, the use of veterinary medicines in all animal species that do go into the food chain is a matter of food safety and has to be treated seriously."
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