A recent RASFF (Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed) alert has been raised by the European Commission in Belgium, displaying an unauthorised level of Phenylbutazone detected in Canadian horse meat. The alert was triggered on the 21st June 2019 with the risk decision classified as ‘serious’. The report follows a series of similar alerts triggered in recent years. The most recent alert coming in 2017, when Belgium once again triggered an alert stating that unauthorised traces of Oxyphenylbutazone were discovered in Canadian chilled horse meat.
On the 31st March 2017, a rule which stated- ‘Horses must be resident in the country of slaughter for at least six months before they may be slaughtered for export to the EU’ was put into motion. The rule was designed to regulate the amount of horsemeat from countries not in the EU and therefore control of food safety and traceability.
Phenylbutazone is a pyrazolone derivative that is commonly prohibited in food producing animals. The detection of Phenylbutazone at any MRL is considered a violation in most countries including the EU, US and Japan.
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