PARIS Feb 23 Meat from three horse carcasses
contaminated with a banned drug has entered the human food chain
in France but there is no danger to the public, the French farm
minister said on Saturday.
The meat, which came from a lot of six British carcasses
exported to France, contained traces of phenylbutazone - known
as bute - an anti-inflammatory painkiller for sporting horses,
banned for animals intended for eventual human consumption.
French Agriculture Minister Stephane Le Foll said there was
no danger to public health. "One would have to eat 500 horse
hamburgers every day in order to run a risk," he told reporters
at the Paris farm show.
The six carcasses arrived in January at a firm in northern
France that specialises in horse meat products. Three were
intercepted in time.
Earlier this month, Britain's Food Standards Agency (FSA)
said six horses slaughtered in the UK that tested positive for
phenylbutazone were exported to France.
(Reporting by Sybille de la Hamaide and Elizabeth Pineau;
Writing by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Jon Hemming)