FSA issues statement on bute in horse meat

Last updated:
24 January 2013
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The Agency has issued a statement on bute in horse meat. 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 way 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.

In 2012, the FSA identified five cases where horses returned non-compliant results. None of the meat had been placed for sale on the UK market. Where the meat had been exported to other countries, the relevant food safety authorities were informed.

During the recent horse meat incident the Food Safety Authority of Ireland checked for the presence of phenylbutazone and the samples came back negative.