LONDON (TIP): Europol – the Europeancounterpart of Interpol that is in charge oflaw enforcement over all European Unioncountries – has finally kicked off a massiveinvestigation into the horse meat scandalthat originated in the UK, after it wasconfirmed on Thursday that equine meatcontaining a dangerous drug had entered theEU food chain. Recent tests by UK’s Food andStandards Authority found the presence ofbanned drug phenylbutazone (bute) inhorses slaughtered in the UK.
The FSA checked 206 horse carcassesbetween January 30 and February 7, 2013. Ofthese, eight tested positive for the drug, six ofwhich were sent to France and may haveentered the food chain. The FSA will nowwork with the French authorities to tracethem. From this week, all meat are beingtested for brute. The agency has nowdeveloped a testing regime which enablesresults to come through in 48 hours.Agriculture ministers have agreed on athree-month programme of DNA testing ofprocessed meat across the EU as the horsemeat scandal intensified.
UK’s environmentsecretary Owen Paterson emerged fromWednesday’s talks in Brussels to announce athree-month, EU-wide DNA testing regime totrace horse meat and to check processedmeat on sale for “bute” – the powerful horseanti-inflammatory which could be a healthrisk if passed on to humans.Paterson after meeting Europol andEurojust (EU’s judicial division in theHague) said, “I’m very pleased that Europolis formally involved in the investigation onmeat fraud. I met Europol and Eurojust, whooffered their full support to the national lawenforcement agencies involved in meat fraudacross Europe. This is an incrediblyimportant step. It’s increasingly clear thatthis case reaches right across Europe. Aspresident of the EU Council of AgricultureMinisters, Irish minister for agricultureSimon Coveney chaired a meeting with theEU commissioner for health Tonio Borg andand ministers from member states directlyaffected by the serious disclosures ofmislabelling of processed meat products.