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Food Chem Toxicol. 2010 May;48(5):1270-4. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2010.02.021. Epub 2010 Feb 20.

Association of phenylbutazone usage with horses bought for slaughter: a public health risk.

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  • 1Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University, North Grafton, MA, USA.

Abstract

Sixty-seven million pounds of horsemeat derived from American horses were sent abroad for human consumption last year. Horses are not raised as food animals in the United States, and mechanisms to ensure the removal of horses treated with banned substances from the food chain are inadequate at best. Phenylbutazone (PBZ) is the most commonly used non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) in equine practice. Thoroughbred (TB) race horses like other horse breeds are slaughtered for human consumption. Phenylbutazone is banned for use in any animal intended for human consumption because it causes serious and lethal idiosyncratic adverse effects in humans. The number of horses that have received phenylbutazone prior to being sent to slaughter for human consumption is unknown but its presence in some is highly likely. We identified eighteen TB race horses that were given PBZ on race day and sent for intended slaughter by matching their registered name to their race track drug record over a five year period. Sixteen rescued TB race horses were given PBZ on race day. Thus, PBZ residues may be present in some horsemeat derived from American horses. The permissive allowance of such horsemeat used for human consumption poses a serious public health risk.

Published by Elsevier Ltd.

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PMID:
20176071
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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