Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Food & Beverage Analysis
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

EU Agencies Consider Phenylbutazone Detected in Horsemeat of Low Concern for Consumers

Published: Monday, April 15, 2013
Last Updated: Monday, April 15, 2013
Bookmark and Share
Agencies recommend improved horse traceability and monitoring of veterinary medicinal residues.

A joint assessment from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) concludes that the illegal presence of residues of phenylbutazone in horsemeat is of low concern for consumers due to the low likelihood of exposure and the overall low likelihood of toxic effects. EFSA and EMA confirm that it is not possible to set safe levels for phenylbutazone in food products of animal origin and therefore its use in the food chain should remain prohibited.

As part of this remit, EFSA and EMA delivered a series of recommendations to further reduce the risk of this substance entering the food chain, focusing on measures to strengthen traceability. The agencies reiterate the need to improve the monitoring and reporting of data on the presence of residues of veterinary medicines in live animals and food products of animal origin across the European Union (EU).

The request for advice from the European Commission follows the recent identification of beef products adulterated with horsemeat and the discovery of the anti-inflammatory drug phenylbutazone in horse carcasses illegally entering the food chain.

Phenylbutazone was previously evaluated by EMA in 1997 to establish maximum residue limits (MRLs) in food products of animal origin. The data available at that time did not allow a conclusion to be drawn on the level of phenylbutazone that could be considered safe in food of animal origin. As no MRL could be established, animals treated with phenylbutazone are not allowed to enter the food chain. In their joint risk assessment, experts from EFSA and EMA used all currently available scientific evidence to assess the toxicity of phenylbutazone and reconfirmed these conclusions.

EFSA and EMA identified the health hazards associated with phenylbutazone and assessed whether consumer exposure to this substance through its illegal presence in horsemeat could be of concern.

Phenylbutazone is occasionally used in human medicine for the treatment of patients with severe rheumatoid arthritis and has been linked to rare occurrence of a blood disorder, aplastic anemia, which has been observed in 1 in 30,000 people treated. The report concluded that the likelihood that a predisposed individual consume horsemeat contaminated with the drug and develop this condition is low – between 2 in a trillion and 1 in 100 million.This estimate takes into account the likelihood of consumers being exposed to phenylbutazone on a given day from the consumption of horsemeat itself or from beef products adulterated with horsemeat.

EFSA and EMA found that while the genotoxicity of phenylbutazone (that is, its potential to damage human DNA) could not be excluded, this was considered unlikely.The report also concluded that the risk of carcinogenicity is of very low concern given the estimated infrequency of consuming horsemeat containing residues ofphenylbutazone (consumed as such or in beef products adulterated with horsemeat) and the estimated low levels of the drug to which consumers could be exposed through the diet. In estimating possible levels of phenylbutazone in foods, scientists used the highest concentration of the drug reported in the testing programme carried out by Member States.

Traceability and monitoring

EFSA and EMA provided advice to further reduce the risk to consumers from the illegal presence of phenylbutazone in horsemeat. Proposed EU-wide measures include introduction of a reliable identification system for horses and other so-called solipeds, harmonising checks of phenylbutazone and improving the reporting of monitoring data for its possible presence in foods. This final suggestion echoes a recommendation made by EFSA in its latest report on Veterinary Medicines Residues.


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 3,200+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,800+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

First DNA Vaccine in the EU Recommended for Use in Salmon
Clynav to protect Atlantic salmon from serious infectious disease.
Saturday, April 23, 2016
Scientific News
Detecting Pesticides, Nerve Gas With an Electronic Nose
Detecting pesticides and nerve gas in very low concentrations? An international team of researchers led by Ivo Stassen and Rob Ameloot from KU Leuven have made it possible.
Massive Helium Discovery a "Game Changer" for Medical Industry
A new development is gas exploration has yielded the discovery of a huge helium gas field, which could help relieve the dwindling supply.
A “Micro Winery” That Makes Wine Continuously
An American professor, working in collaboration with EPFL, is developing a miniature device for producing wine non-stop and testing different fermentation processes.
Supplement May Switch off Cravings for High-Calorie Foods
Researchers have found that inulin-propionate ester supplement curbs cravings for junk food.
Link Between Canned Food, BPA Exposure Revealed
New Stanford research resolves the debate on the link between canned food and exposure to the hormone-disrupting chemical known as Bisphenol A, or BPA.
Peanut Allergy Prevention Strategy is Nutritionally Safe
Early-life peanut consumption does not affect duration of breastfeeding or children’s growth and nutrition.
ASMS 2016: Targeting Mass Spectrometry Tools for the Masses
The expanding application range of MS in life sciences, food, energy, and health sciences research was highlighted at this year's ASMS meeting in San Antonio, Texas.
A Future Tool for Medicine, Food Safety
A new type of electronic sensor that might be used to quickly detect and classify bacteria for medical diagnostics and food safety has passed a key hurdle by distinguishing between dead and living bacteria cells.
Local Microbes Can Predict Wine’s Chemical Profile
Regionally distinctive groups of bacteria and fungi, associated with local climate and environmental conditions, may leave a very specific “fingerprint” on a wine’s chemical composition, report University of California, Davis, researchers who collaborated on a new study with two Napa Valley wineries.
What Makes a Good Scientist?
It’s the journey, not just the destination that counts as a scientist when conducting research.
SELECTBIO

SELECTBIO Market Reports
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
3,200+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,800+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!