July 17, 2024

After European Horse Meat Scare, USDA Ramps Up Species Testing

After the European horse meat scare, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) is ramping up its species testing efforts. In January, products sold throughout Europe that were labeled as containing 100% beef were found to contain horse DNA.

HorseMeat from race horses treated with hormones, steroids, and anti-inflammatories is unsafe for human consumption. Bute, an anti-inflammatory, is of particular concern. Bute was banned from most human medical uses after it was found  to cause cancer.

Testing of products solds in Europe continued for weeks and dozens of products were recalled some arrests were made. An investigation is ongoing, according to the U.K.’s Food Standard Agency (FSA). “The evidence we have about the two cases of the significant amount of horse meat in burgers and lasagne, points to either gross negligence or deliberate contamination in the food chain. This is why we have already involved the police, both here and in Europe.” Most of the samples tested in the UK were negative. None of the recalled products was sold in the U.S. Still, FSIS is ramping up its testing.

On April 1, the agency issued a notice instructing inspectors to increase sampling of raw and ready to eat meats from Iceland, Ireland, Poland, the United Kingdom, and Northern Ireland. Inspectors were also instructed to collect and submit a sample for E. coli analyses “on beef manufacturing trimmings or other raw ground beef or veal components and raw ground beef or veal from any country,” according to the notice.






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