Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Forget horse, it's beef I'm worried about

There is no significant danger from phenylbutazone found in horsemeat adulterating beef and there is no reason to believe that the horsemeat involved is unhealthy to eat, either.

The real danger is that unfit, prion-infected beef may be in these foods.

The presence of horse demonstrates that 'safeguards' to prevent infected beef entering the food chain do not work.

Although horse and other animals can be detected by their DNA, there is no test for the prion-causing variant CJD and only the careful tracking of safe, young meat from farm to point-of-sale protects us.

Through incompetence, venality or deliberate fraud, this chain has been broken.

The major food processors and supermarkets have the financial power to ensure what they buy is safe and the Food Standards Agency has legal power, too.

Now they and the Government are wringing their hands and hoping that nothing will go wrong.

But we shall never be able to discover what dangerous contaminants have been eaten over the past several years.

I am very glad that my wife won't countenance the purchase of burgers.

DR GERALD FRESHWATER

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