Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 24 September 2014

Horse DNA and bute test results due

A wide-ranging review announced by the Government is to examine the horse meat food scandal

The results of three months of checks for horse DNA and the anti-inflammatory drug bute in processed food are due to be announced.

In February EU ministers agreed the regime of investigation including 2,500 random tests amid continuing concerns over the scandal of beef adulterated with horse meat.

Politicians also agreed to test for bute - a powerful horse anti-inflammatory drug which could pose a health risk if passed on to humans.

The results are expected to be declared in Brussels.

The move comes as the Government announced it was launching a wide-ranging review into the horse meat scandal to restore consumer confidence in the food they buy. The review will look at the responsibilities of food businesses and practices throughout the chain including auditing, testing, safety, food authenticity and health issues. And it comes after a series of revelations that beef products sold in supermarkets and served in schools and hospitals contained horse meat.

The Government review will also look at how vulnerable the food chain and food regulatory system is to being exploited for fraud. The three-month EU regime of checks included 2,500 random tests on processed food for horse DNA and 4,000 for bute.

When the tests were announced ministers also agreed on tightening co-ordination between national authorities through Europol, the EU law enforcement agency based in The Hague, whose normal remit is combating serious international crime and terrorism.

At the time EU consumer policy commissioner Tonio Borg denied that the scandal had revealed failings in the internal market.

"The EU food safety system is one of the safest in the world," he said.

"Thanks to this system and its capacity for full traceability, national authorities are in a position to investigate this matter so as to find the source of the problem. This is no failure of the internal market. This is an incident inside the internal market which has to be taken very seriously in order to restore the confidence of consumers in what they eat."

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