The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) are to carry out a joint assessment of the risks to human health presented by the presence of residues of the anti-inflammatory drug phenylbutazone in horsemeat.
The assessment follows a request from the European Commission made in the wake of the recent scandal of horsemeat contamination of beef products and the discovery of phenylbutazone in a small number of horse carcasses intended to enter the food chain. The drug, also known as ‘bute’, is not authorised for the treatment of food animals.
The joint assessment will consider all available scientific evidence and data from on going testing to determine the risk from consuming horsemeat and other products contaminated with horsemeat and will provide scientific advice on risks and any additional controls needed. The process should be completed by 15 April.