Britain confirms presence of bute in horses

Last Updated: Thu, Feb 14, 2013 18:00 hrs

London, Feb 14 (IANS) Britain confirmed Thursday the presence of a drug -- phenylbutazone (bute) -- in horses slaughtered in the country may have entered the food chain.

While the British Food Standards Agency (FSA), responsible for food safety and food hygiene across the country, admitted the presence of bute, experts said the level of bute in horse meat posed a "very low risk" to human health, Xinhua reported.

According to the report, the FSA's most recent tests on the presence of bute checked 206 horse carcasses slaughtered between Jan 30 and Feb 7.

Of these, eight tested positive for the drug. Six of the eight were sent to France and may have entered the food chain. The remaining two have now been disposed of in accordance with EU rules.

The FSA said it was collecting information on the six carcasses sent to France, and would work with French authorities to trace them.

Bute can cause a potentially fatal blood disorder in humans called aplastic anaemia, in which the bone marrow fails to produce enough blood cells. Since it is not possible to say what triggers the disorder, it is not possible to identify a safe level of residue in meat, the Guardian reported.

-- Indo-Asian News Service


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