“Why in Gods name are we eating horses anyway? We raise more than enough animals that can suffer heinous living conditions, & an even worse death, not to mention the abuse many share…just to satisfy the human demand for meat…burgers, sausages etc. Why would anyone want to eat a horse or baby cows & lambs…it’s sickening!! If I wasn’t already vegetarian, almost vegan…the thought of eating something that could contain any amount of horse; would be enough to turn my stomach & make me vegetarian. There is no way my horses will ever go to slaughter as I ticked the “Not fit for human consumption” box on their passports.
- The horses were slaughtered in UK and tested for phenylbutazone, or bute
- It is an anti-inflammatory drug that can affect human health
- The meat has already hit Europe and has been eaten or processed
Details are due to be announced by ministers and the Food Standards Agency today.
The horses were slaughtered at an unnamed British abattoir in the last few weeks and the resulting meat was tested for the presence of the anti-inflammatory drug bute.
But the results of the tests only came back after the meat had been shipped to the Continent and eaten or added to processed food.
It is not known whether any resulting processed food came back to the UK in ready meals such as lasagne or spaghetti bolognese.
The revelation came as Environment Secretary Owen Paterson signalled more raids could be carried out on British firms suspected of selling contaminated meat in the coming days.
On Tuesday Food Standards Agency officials raided a Yorkshire slaughterhouse and a Welsh factory which it claimed was passing off horse meat as beef.
But the bute scare points to a serious loophole in the food protection regime for consumers, which has been highlighted by Labour’s environment spokesman Mary Creagh.
The FSA announced last week that it would be moving to close this loophole with a new regime for horse meat.
This new system, which only came into effect days ago, is meant to ensure that no carcass is allowed to be sold for food until the bute test results have come back as negative.
While the presence of bute – phenylbutazone – is a concern, the amounts that appear in horse meat would be extremely small and unlikely to cause any ill effects. “If unchipped horses passports are being swapped around, (as they were with the previous post of the cob swapped, for another horse much bigger to go to slaughter)… nobody can tell how much bute was given to that horse; apart from the owner! I have given my horses bute & not just on a vets prescription. I think most horse owners who know what they are doing, have some bute around, just in case a horse bruises a sole, or has arthritis & seems a bit stiff.
It is known to be able to induce blood disorders, including aplastic anaemia, in which the bone marrow stops making enough red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. “Above they say it isn’t a big concern, but if a horses passport has been switched & the passport given to another horse, your not going to know how much bute was in that horse before it was slaughtered; bute is not a drug required to be registered on a horses passport!
Those with severe or very severe aplastic anaemia are at risk of life-threatening infections or bleeding. Bute is also known to cause cancer in rats, but there is no conclusive evidence for it to have the same effect in humans.
Miss Creagh said: ‘With every passing day this scandal seems to get wider.
‘I raised the problem of bute contaminated horse meat being released into the food chain with Defra [farming] ministers last month yet up until two days ago horses were still not being tested for bute and were being released for human consumption.
‘Parliamentary answers released this week show 9,405 horses were slaughtered in the UK for human consumption abroad last year. We must make sure horse meat is not contaminated with bute.’ “You must make sure that the horse has the correct passport too!
“Without all horses having to have microchips, I don’t know how they are going to tell without testing a sample from each horse that is slaughtered…imagine how much that is going to cost!”
“Micro-chipping has been compulsory for foals in the Thoroughbred breeding industry since 1999. Then any equine foal born after 1 July 2009 had to be micro chipped under European-wide regulations.”
“The regulations apply to foals of all equines —horses, ponies, donkeys, mules and so on.”
“For older horses, it wasn’t mandatory for them to be micro-chipped.
(“See pictures attached as to how the vet would shade in areas on the passport, of the horses colours & markings, this would be in the passport for an older horse & one not mandatory to be microchipped “)
“The old style passport had an area at the back of the passport where there was an outlined picture of a horse showing the front, right & left side, back, legs, & face of a horse which had to be shaded by a vet to match the exact markings, colouring, even whorls (spiral patches of hair on a horse) & a detailed description given of that particular horse then signed by a vet as proof of identification. Unless your horse was valuable, people didn’t use to microchip until it came into force.”
Mr Paterson entered talks with EU ministers in Brussels to try to secure mandatory labelling of the ‘Country of Origin’ on all processed meat products, intelligence sharing between regulators, and spot checks on processors and retailers. “Sounds good, but how is that going help if they have a passport for the horse
After the meeting it was announced all member states should carry out 2,500 horse DNA tests on processed beef products and 4,000 bute tests on horse meat during March, and publish the results in mid-April.
Mr Paterson has put the blame for the food fraud scandal on retailers, saying: ‘People have got to trust what they buy and the ultimate link between the quality of the products and what is marked on the label has got to be the business selling the product.
‘If people are being sold a product that says processed beef and get a product that contains a significant amount of horse meat, that is a fraud.’
FSA officials said they were looking at trails – where the meat went – from five slaughterhouses in the UK that regularly process horses.
Mr Paterson said Tuesday’s raids were the result of information passed to the Food Standards Agency after contamination was first detected in Ireland three weeks ago, and said the agency was doing ‘methodical, painstaking work … sifting through data’.
‘We saw vigorous action yesterday, and we may well see some more action over the course of the coming few days’, he said. ‘But it’s not very clever to give advance notice of what we are going to do in carrying out investigations that may lead to criminal prosecutions.’
However, he insisted processed meat on British supermarket shelves was safe to eat, and even said he would eat anything, including horse. ‘I’m relaxed about it’, he said. ‘ I’m omnivorous, I’ll eat anything.’
Mr Paterson said it was ‘too early to tell’ how many people may have eaten burgers and kebabs from the firms raided yesterday, or what chemicals could be in them.
Last week Mr Paterson described the scandal, then only linked to horse meat sent from Poland to Ireland, and from Romanian slaughterhouses to the French food company Comigel, as an ‘international criminal conspiracy’.
Yesterday he said the premises raided in Britain were a separate issue.
The FSA were ‘working through all those involved in the slaughter of horses … and that work is carrying on, they are looking through invoices and customers lists’, he said.
‘There will be further action, depending on their investigation,’ he said.
He added that when the investigation was over there were likely to be ‘lessons to be learned’, for the agency.
At Prime Minister’s question time, David Cameron said it was ‘appalling’ and ‘completely unacceptable’ that consumers were buying beef products that turned out to contain horse. ‘I do think that this is a serious issue.
People are genuinely worried about what they are buying at the supermarket and I really think we have got to get a grip,’ he said.
‘Retailers I think do bear a real responsibility here.
‘At the end of the day, it is they who are putting products on their shelves and have got to say that they are really clear about where that meat came from, what it was, who it was supplied by. It is up to them to check that and I think that is vitally important.’
Yesterday a Dutch meat broker, Draap Trading Ltd, was named as a middleman in the horse meat scandal. The company bought some £45,000 of horse meat from a Romanian abattoir, some of which eventually ended up in Britain
News Link:- http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2278342/Danger-drug-UK-horsemeat-Tests-reveal-health-hazard-AFTER-meat-exported-Europe.html#ixzz2Ku0BJdpW
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