Horse meat scandal latest: Are you eating frog poison? | UK | News | Daily Express

Horse meat scandal dominating the front pages
Horse meat scandal dominating the front pages (Photo credit: Gene Hunt)
Horse meat scandal latest: Are you eating frog poison? | UK | News | Daily Express
Horse meat scandal latest: Are you eating frog poison?
A POWERFUL painkiller made from the poison of jungle frogs is feared to have entered the food chain in contaminated horse meat.
By: Stuart Winter
Published: Sun, February 24, 2013

The-painkiller-is-made-from-the-poison-of-jungle-frogs The painkiller is made from the poison of jungle frogs

The drug, extracted from South American tree frogs and used to illegally dope racehorses so they can run when badly injured, joins a host of banned medicines that might be lurking in our food.

Animal welfare campaigners highlighted the threat of dermorphin or “tree frog juice” in the food chain last night when they called for a moratorium on horse meat being shipped into Europe from North America.

More than 100,000 horses are slaughtered there each year and sold to Europe but because of failings in the system there are questions over the meat reaching EU food standards.

Although the EU bans the presence of medicines in animals destined for the meat market, there are concerns that American carcasses contain drug residue because there are no requirements for their veterinary records to be shown at slaughter.

"We now know that criminals have passed off untraceable horse meat into products" Mary Creagh

Sport, working and companion horses from the United States are all killed for the European market. Recent scandals in the racing world, which have seen animals “nobbled” with drugs made from frog juice and even cobra venom, have raised the threat of illicit substances entering the food chain.

Earlier this month, the Sunday Express revealed how a racehorse treated with the painkiller phenylbutazone, known as bute, a drug linked to liver problems, may have been one of six horses that entered the food chain after being slaughtered in Britain.

The horse meat scandal shows no signs of abating, with Birds Eye removing a number of ready meals and a catering giant supplying schools, the Armed Forces and Ascot racecourse also withdrawing its beef.

There are now calls for a new round of checks on products for a wider number of contaminants. Shadow Environment Secretary Mary Creagh said: “We now know that criminals have passed off untraceable horse meat into products that thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of people have eaten over at least several months.

“The Government should order companies to test all products adulterated with horse meat to check that there is no risk to human health from any horse medication.”

The threat that “tree frog juice” has found its way on to the market was highlighted last week by Humane Society International. The animal welfare organisation is campaigning with its American partners for a moratorium on the sale of horse meat from across the North Atlantic.

It says there can be “no doubt that substantial numbers” of American horses sold to Europe have been administered with veterinary drugs, which is at odds with the lifetime ban on these substances for food animals.

There are concerns that American horse carcasses contain residue of the drug

Holly Hazard, of The Humane Society Of The United States, said: “There is virtually no horse racing around an American track or on exhibition in the show ring that has escaped a prescription for pain-masking drugs clearly prohibited for use in food animals under EU regulations.

“In addition, there is no way to track illegal substances such as dermorphin, routinely used by unscrupulous horse trainers to enhance performance, because laboratories wouldn’t even know to test for these drugs.

“Sport, working, companion and performance horses do not belong in the food supply as the meat simply cannot be guaranteed safe.”

The Food Standards Agency said: “We are assessing the need for any further veterinary medicine testing of both horses slaughtered in the UK and of horse meat found in food.”
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DISTURBING FOOTAGE: Report prompts recall of labelled horsemeat

Disturbing footage: Report prompts recall of labelled horsemeat - swissinfo
Report prompts recall of labelled horsemeat
National    An emaciated horse heads to the slaughterhouse in footage from the Swiss television programme "Kassensturz" (SRF Kassensturz) Feb 20, 2013 - 14:11 In response to a nationally televised programme showing horrific conditions for horses whose meat ended up on Swiss dinner plates, several of the country’s supermarkets have pulled most labelled horsemeat products off their shelves.
The episode of the investigative programme “Kassensturz” on Swiss television showed footage of horses being beaten, neglected and transported for hours without food or water before being slaughtered.
The revelations came at a time when horsemeat is already in the news for a completely different reason: a Europe-wide scandal involving undeclared horsemeat found in frozen meals labelled as containing only beef.
While horsemeat is much less popular than other meats in Switzerland, it is by no means taboo. The Observatory of the Swiss Horse Branch estimates that between 600 and 700 grams of horse meat is eaten per person per year.
The footage was gathered by workers from the Zurich Animal Protection League who travelled to horse feed lots in Canada, Mexico and Argentina owned by the Bouvry, Camargo and Lamar enterprises.
Most Swisshorsemeat comes from those three countries; only eight per cent is domestically sourced. The Animal Protection League collected most of the footage “a few months ago”, according to Kassensturz, although some excerpts dated from 2010.  
Ahead of the programme’s national airing, Swiss supermarkets got wind of its contents and reacted by halting the sale of much of their horsemeat while the investigation continues.  
Coop supermarkets kept fresh horsemeat on their shelves, all of which they say comes from Europe, but stopped selling horse charcuterie which contained meat from the places investigated by the Animal Protection League.  
While the Denner supermarket chain stopped selling all horsemeat products, its parent company, Migros, told the NZZ newspaper that it believes its Canadian horsemeat handler is treating its animals properly. A Migros spokesperson told the newspaper that the slaughterhouses “were subjected to our independent controls and were checked by a Swiss veterinarian”, the last time in July 2012. According to Kassensturz, the supermarkets Aldi and Lidl pulled all imported horsemeat products from their stores.  
Nestlé, the world’s biggest food supplier based in Switzerland, announced Tuesday it was pulling chilled lasagne meals from sale in France and Portugal because it feared they contained traces of horsemeat. For the first time, the recall involved meals distributed to hotels and restaurants in addition to those on supermarket shelves.  On Monday, beef-filled tortellini products sold in Spanish and Italian grocery stores were also pulled from supermarkets as the horsemeat inquiries continued. Nestlé had previously said its products did not contain horsemeat.
swissinfo.ch and agencies
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Opinion: International Humane Group Calls for Ban on Horsemeat | Horse Back Magazine

Opinion: International Humane Group Calls for Ban on Horsemeat | Horse Back Magazine

Opinion: International Humane Group Calls for Ban on Horsemeat

February 12, 2013
By Janet Schultz

SACRAMENTO – Horsemeat from the U.S. These horses may have by circumstances be in need of a new home, a horse stolen from its pasture, a horse who was given to a “good home,”. A race horse who transferred to another barn and ended up in an auction to be bought by “kill buyers.”. Kill buyers buy specifically to meet quotas – they do not look for legal paperwork, medical records, owner certificates. Most if not all of the 9.7 million horses in the United States are born and raised to be our companions, competitors, or perform some work on the ranches that still exist. . So, for the 9.7 million horses that are not raised for meat – their lives are enriched by veterinary and informal at home care. The equines are cared for using wormers, antibiotics, wound care products, and most importantly pain and anti-inflammatory medications specifically prohibited by FDA to be used on any animal intended as a food animal. American horses are cared for just as we care for our other companion animals with no intention of them ending as a slaughter animal and should be kept out of the human food chain. The dangers to humans upon eating the meat of American horses or burros is overwhelming. The consequences are up to and including fatal failure of the blood and kidney system. Unbelievably, even knowing this, our American horses have been purchased by “business” and transported to Canada and Mexico and slaughtered for shipment overseas. And finally, our voices to ban slaughter of American horses is heard. Please support this effort by the International Humane Society and contact your own politicians and demand a ban on transport and slaughter is put in place. Thank you. If we truly believe in protecting our fellow man, we can do this. Not to mention finally bringing peace to the horse industry. 

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Call for EU to immediately ban horse meat from America

Call for EU to immediately ban horse meat from America - News - Horsetalk.co.nz

Call for EU to immediately ban horse meat from America

Call for EU to immediately ban horse meat from America
By Horsetalk.co.nz on Feb 12, 2013 in Just Briefly

Humane Society International is calling on European Union officials to protect consumer health and immediately ban the sale of horsemeat coming from North America.

Its call is in response in response to news reports that up to 100 per cent horsemeat has been found in Findus beef products marketed in France, Sweden and Britain.

“It is alarming to learn that European consumers may have fallen victim to large-scale food fraud, unwittingly consuming horse-meat products incorrectly labelled as beef,” the group’s European Union director, Jo Swabe, said.

“Consumer alarm is understandable as many people would ordinarily avoid eating horse flesh.

“Humane Society International calls on officials to acknowledge the potential risk to public health and safety, as this horsemeat could have originated from anywhere in the world, including from North America, and to immediately ban its sale from North America.”

The group argued there was a strong likelihood that some of the horsemeat had been imported into the EU from either Canada or Mexico. France, it said, was one of the biggest importers of North American horsemeat.

Most horse meat exported to the EU from both Canada and Mexico actually originates from United States horses shipped over the border.

France also receives horse-meat imports from other Member States, a proportion of which are actually re-exports from Canada and Mexico, too. In addition, French statistics show that a total 16,970 horses were slaughtered domestically during the same year.

There were significant concerns about horsemeat of US origin containing residues from veterinary drugs that in the EU are banned for use in animals killed for food, the society said.

It noted that recent audits conducted by the European Commission’s Food and Veterinary Office in Canada and Mexico have concluded that the medical treatment records for US horses are insufficient to guarantee that standards equivalent to those provided for by EU legislation are applied.
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Drug-alert horsemeat did enter Yorkshire food chain

Drug-alert horsemeat did enter Yorkshire food chain - Main Section - Yorkshire Post
Drug-alert horsemeat did enter Yorkshire food chain

The ABP Foods plant in Leeming Bar, North Yorkshire, was at the centre of the original horse meat scandal.The ABP Foods plant in Leeming Bar, North Yorkshire, was at the centre of the original horse meat scandal.

By Jack Blanchard Political Editor
Published on Saturday 2 February 2013 05:00

ILLEGAL horsemeat contaminated with a cancer-causing drug was butchered in a British abattoir and sent to a farm in Yorkshire for human consumption, a Government agency has confirmed.

Health Ministers revealed yesterday that, contrary to previous assurances, a horse which was killed and butchered in Britain and known to be contaminated with the carcinogenic drug phenylbutazone – widely referred to as “bute” – has indeed entered the UK food chain.

Food safety officials claimed the banned meat was eaten only by the horse’s original owner, a farmer in Kirklees, and an associate of his on another farm in Lancashire.

But Labour warned there was no real evidence the potentially dangerous meat had not been distributed more widely. Bute is given to horses as an anti-inflammatory, but can cause cancer in humans and is strictly banned from entering the food chain across the EU.

English: Mary Creagh in Parliament
English: Mary Creagh in Parliament (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In the wake of the recent scandal over quantities of horsemeat found in supermarket beefburgers, Labour’s Shadow Environment Secretary, Mary Creagh, has warned of several cases of bute being found in UK abattoirs.

Figures this week revealed that nearly 10,000 horses were killed and butchered for their meat in British abattoirs last year. Just over 150 were tested for bute, with nine coming back positive.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) moved to reassure the public that “none of the meat had been placed for sale in the UK”.

But it has now emerged that while most of the contaminated horsemeat was shipped to France, one carcase was divided up and sent to two farms in the north of England – one in Kirklees and another in Chorley, Lancashire.

In a written Parliamentary answer, Health Minister Anna Soubry said the FSA had contacted the relevant local authorities as soon as it realised the meat was contaminated – believed to be in September 2012. But she said that when environmental health officials visited the farms in question, they were told the meat had been “purchased for personal consumption – and had already been consumed”.

FSA officials said last night that they had accepted this version of events, adding that as the Yorkshire farmer and his associate had effectively eaten their own horse, the meat was never actually sold in the UK.

But Ms Creagh, who is also MP for Wakefield, said people would not be reassured that the food safety system was working. “The public must have confidence that the food they buy is properly labelled, legal and safe,” she said.

“Despite last week’s denials, the Food Standards Agency have now confirmed that horsemeat contaminated with phenylbutazone – or bute – has been consumed in the UK, despite it being banned from the human food chain.

“The Government, retailers and the FSA need to get a grip and set out what steps they will take to ensure this does not happen again.”

The bute contamination is the second horsemeat scandal to hit the UK this year, after traces of horse were found in a range of supermarket burgers last month.

The FSA said in a statement: “Horses treated with ‘bute’ are not allowed to enter the food chain. The FSA carries out checks in slaughterhouses to ensure that horses presented for slaughter are fit for human consumption. 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.”
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"From my earliest memories, I have loved horses with a longing beyond words." ~ Robert Vavra