Mounting evidence suggests that this issue is not restricted to horsemeat from North America. Food and Veterinary Office audits in Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay  indicate that the measures implemented in these countries to prevent meat from horses treated with substances banned for use in food animals are also vulnerable to fraud. The drug treatment histories of horses slaughtered for export to the EU may also have traceability issues.
An investigative report on horsemeat imports recently produced by a coalition of European animal protection groups  corroborates HSI’s own findings, lending additional weight to our calls for the Commission to uphold its own import requirements for products of animal origin and to take urgent action to ensure that meat from horses that do not qualify for slaughter for export no longer ends up on EU consumers’ plates.
- Since 31 July 2010, the EU has required that only horses with a known lifetime medical treatment history, and whose medicinal treatment records show they satisfy the veterinary medicine withdrawal periods, will be allowed to be slaughtered for export to the EU.
- Food and Veterinary Office audits in both Canada and Mexico conclude that the reliability and veracity of vendor affidavits with respect to the animal’s medical treatment history cannot be guaranteed with respect to horses with United States origin.
- HSI has recently submitted a petition to the new European Parliament urging it to take action to ensure that the Commission takes steps to protect the health of EU consumers by suspending the import of horsemeat from non-EU countries that do not meet EU import requirements.
1. All FVO audit reports can be accessed here: http://ec.europa.eu/food/fvo/index_en.cfm
Source: Humane Society International
Media contact: Raúl Arce-Contreras: 301-721-6440, firstname.lastname@example.org