Latest FSA tests find traces of “bute” in horsemeat

Latest FSA tests find traces of “bute” in horsemeat

Meat from six horses slaughtered in the UK has been found to contain the equine drug phenylbutazone (bute) after the latest FSA test results were released today. 206 horse carcasses were examined, with eight testing positive for the drug.

The horses were slaughtered in the UK between 30th January and 7th February 2013. Six were slaughtered by L.J. Potter Partners at Stillman’s (Somerset) Ltd, Taunton and were sent to France where they may have entered the food chain.

Two more carcasses did not leave the slaughterhouse at High Peak Meat Exports Ltd in Nantwich and were disposed of.

The FSA is working with French authorities in order to trace the six carcasses that were exported.

100 per cent testing of horse carcasses was introduced by the FSA on 30th January. Up until this point samples were only taken from selected horses slaughtered. The results announced today are from tests carried out before the new rules were brought in, which used to take up to two weeks.

A new 48-hour system has now been implemented and carcasses will have to test negative for bute before being released from slaughterhouses.

Findus beef dishes hit the headlines after they were found to contain horsemeat but bute tests carried out on these products were negative.

Low risk to health, says chief medical officer

Dame Sally Davies, chief medical officer at the Department for Health said: “There is currently no indication that phenylbutazone – bute – is present in any of the products that have been identified in this country, but the FSA has ordered further tests to confirm this.

“It’s understandable that people will be concerned, but it is important to emphasise that, even if bute is found to be present at low levels, there is a very low risk indeed that it would cause any harm to health.”

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