EU: Tests show no safety issues with horsemeat

Food samples are tested for any possible traces Food samples are tested for any possible traces of horse meat at a veterinary laboratory in Prague, Czech Republic. (Feb. 27, 2013) Photo Credit: AP

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BRUSSELS - The European Union says more than 7,000 tests across the 27-nation bloc on products labeled as beef show that nearly 5 percent of them contained horse meat.

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The tests also showed the veterinary anti-inflammatory drug phenylbutazone, or bute, was present about .50 percent of the horse meat. Bute is banned for human use because in rare cases it causes severe side effects, but veterinary experts say there is little risk from consuming small amounts of the drug in horse meat.

European Health Commissioner Tonio Borg said Tuesday that "today's findings have confirmed that this is a matter of food fraud and not of food safety."

Borg said in the upcoming months the European Commission, the EU's executive arm, would propose measures "to strengthen the controls along the food chain."

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