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 2,900+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,200+ 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.


Scientific News
Low-Cost, Portable NQR Spectroscopy
A researcher at Case Western Reserve University is developing a low-cost, portable prototype designed to detect tainted medicines and food supplements that otherwise can make their way to consumers. The technology can authenticate good medicines and supplements.
Chemical Used to Replace BPA is Potentially Toxic
This study is the first to examine the effects of BPA and BPS on brain cells and genes that control the growth and function of organs involved in reproduction.
Toxic Pollutants Found in Fish Across the World's Oceans
Scripps researchers' analysis shows highly variable pollutant concentrations in fish meat.
Weight-loss Supplements Containing Raspberry Ketone May Be Harmful
New study by the researchers suggests that raspberry ketone may have several adverse effects.
Quantifying C. botulinum Spores
A study from the Institute of Food Research has provided new evidence on the background levels of spores of Clostridium botulinum in raw food ingredients that is helping the food industry deliver safe chilled foods more sustainably.
Single Molecule Detection of Contaminants, Explosives or Diseases
A technique that combines the ultrasensitivity of surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) with a slippery surface invented by Penn State researchers will make it feasible to detect single molecules of a number of chemical and biological species from gaseous, liquid or solid samples.
Should I Throw Away Food Once a Fly Has Landed on it?
Flies can be a substantial annoyance and may also be a potential health risk.
New Year, Old Beer
A bottle of Alexander Keith’s beer has been keeping Dal Engineering prof Andrew MacIntosh busy at work this week.
Sensor Detects Toxins Leaching from Plastic
Engineers from Massey University have developed a highly sensitive device able to detect synthetic compounds that leach from plastic food packaging into the contained food or beverage.
New BPA Detection Tests
Scientists from the JRC developed fit-for-purpose analytical methods for the determination of bisphenol A and 12 similar substances (analogues) in food matrices to support possible future monitoring studies.
SELECTBIO

Skyscraper Banner
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
2,900+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,200+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!