The Food Standards Agency says that it’s responding to a call from the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Owen Paterson, to test horse carcasses slaughtered in Britain for phenylbutazone (bute). Bute is an anti-inflammary drug, no longer prescribed for humans because severe side effects happen occasionally. Now horse carcasses slaughtered in Britain will require a negative bute test before they are allowed to enter the food chain.
So some horses slaughtered here are used for human food, are they? Does this mean that horse meat is exported from Britain? Or are some people buying and eating it here, knowing that it’s horse meat? I’ve never seen any horse meat labelled as such. If I did, and if it had Freedom Food certification, I’d buy it and try it.
The Chief Medical Officer, Dame Sally Davies, says that no evidence has yet been found of a bute risk in meat sold for people to eat in Britain. She also says 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.’
Meanwhile it’s clear that something very dodgy has been going on with ‘beef’ that wasn’t all beef. Alistair Driver at Farmers Guardian says that criminal investigations are underway.