In 2012, the FSA identified eight cases where horses tested positive for bute. Five were exported for the food chain. None of the meat was destined for the UK.
Where the meat had been exported to other countries, the relevant food safety authorities were informed. The other three did not enter the food chain. None of the meat had been placed for sale on the UK market.
Horses that have been treated with the drug phenylbutazone or ‘bute’ are not allowed to enter the food chain. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) carries out checks in slaughterhouses to ensure that horses presented for slaughter are fit for human consumption, in the same was as they do for other animals, such as sheep and cattle. The FSA also carries out regular enhanced sampling and testing for phenylbutazone in meat from horses slaughtered in the UK.
During the recent horse meat incident, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland checked for the presence of phenylbutazone and the samples came back negative.
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