Bute found in horse carcases

14 February, 2013

Eight UK horse carcases have tested positive for bute, the anti-inflammatory drug used to treat lame horses, it was announced today.

Environment minister David Heath and the Food Standards Agency (FSA) have confirmed that, of the 206 horse carcases checked between 30 January and 7 February, eight tested positive for bute.

Six of these horses, all of which were slaughtered by LJ Potter Partners at Stillman’s in Taunton, Somerset, were sent to France, indicating that bute could have entered the food chain.

The remaining two did not leave the slaughterhouse in the UK (High Peak Meat Exports, Nantwich) and have now been disposed of.

In a statement released today, the FSA said: “Bute is not allowed to enter the food chain; however, even if people have eaten products that contain contaminated horse meat, the risk of damage to health is very low.”

On 7 February, the FSA claimed the drug can cause “rare cases of a serious blood disorder, aplastic anaemia”, however, that the “risk of damage to their health is very low”.

Environment secretary Owen Paterson explained on Monday that the contamination could potentially harm human health.

The affected carcases are currently being traced by the FSA and French authorities.

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