Lawyers Concern After Veterinary Drug Found In Asda Corned Beef

Product Recalled After Small Traces Of ‘Bute’ Discovered In Cans Previously Found To Contain Horsemeat

10.04.2013

By Dave Grimshaw

Lawyers have raised concerns after a supermarket was forced to recall a corned beef product which contained a veterinary pain killer commonly used on horses, but banned from the human food chain.
 
Asda has admitted that it had recalled its budget corned beef range after low levels of phenylbutazone, also known as bute, were found. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) said that the supermarket had confirmed that the drug was discovered in 340g tins of Asda Smart Price Corned Beef that had previously been found to contain traces of horsemeat.
 
Expert lawyers at Irwin Mitchell said that this latest development was a serious concern and posed a higher risk than the discovery of horsemeat being sold in the UK. Bute is known to be a health risk to humans so it is banned from the food chain – although the FSA said the risk was very low to people who had eaten products containing the contaminated meat.
 
It is understood the corned beef product was removed from the shelves in March but Asda has asked customers to return tins to their nearest store to get a refund. They have also withdrawn another corned beef product as a precaution.
 
David Urpeth, a specialist public liability lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, said: “Although the likely risk of the drug having an effect on people eating the contaminated meat is low, it again raises serious questions about the food chain and what ingredients are being used in the products in UK stores.
 
“Whilst the amounts of the drug may be small, we urge all parties involved to ensure that a thorough investigation is carried out to determine how a drug banned from the human food chain can be found in a meat product on shelves in a large UK supermarket.
 
“To ensure the future safety of customers can be maintained it is essential that any lessons that can be learned from this incident are taken onboard.”
 
In the UK, horse carcasses are tested for bute before they can enter the food chain but it is believed two tested positive in 2012 and were not previously reported to the FSA for up to seven months.

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