Harmful ‘bute’ drug found in UK abattoir horses

Frozen beef was pulled after horse DNA was found in a frozen burger. Picture: AP
Frozen beef was pulled after horse DNA was found in a frozen burger. Picture: AP
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The horse painkiller ‘bute’, which is potentially harmful to humans, has been found in eight horse carcasses from UK abattoirs, the Food Standards Agency said today.

• Food Standards Agency find traces of harmful painkiller in UK horse carcasses

• Bute has not been found in any Findus products after tests

• Scottish chef Nick Nairn urges authorities to ‘come clean’

Six of the eight affected horse carcasses were slaughtered by LJ Potter Partners at Stillman’s (Somerset) Ltd in Taunton, Somerset, and sent to France where Food Standard Agency officials warned they “may have entered the food chain”.

The remaining two were slaughtered at High Peak Meat Exports Ltd in Nantwich, Cheshire, where they have been destroyed.

FSA officials stressed that the tests only found traces of the drug and the health risk to anyone who has eaten contaminated meat was very low.

Further test results announced today showed that bute had not been found in Findus food products, which were removed from sale after they were found to contain up to 100 per cent horsemeat.

The results came as Scottish celebrity chef Nick Nairn called on authorities to ‘come clean’ about what is in school dinners after a Glasgow factory was implicated in the contamination scandal.

Nairn called for more work to reassure the public after Waitrose named the Freshlink plant as the source of beef meatballs which it fears may contain pork, something the factory denies.