PARIS (REUTERS) - 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 United Kingdom that tested positive for phenylbutazone were exported to France.