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Horsemeat scandal health fears

Ministers are facing calls from MPs for more testing of processed meat amid fears that beef products contaminated with horse meat could contain substances harmful to humans.

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Three-month, EU-wide meat DNA testing regime

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson emerged from talks to announce a three-month, EU-wide DNA testing regime to trace horsemeat and to check processed meat on sale for "bute" - the powerful horse anti-inflammatory which could be a health risk if passed on to humans:

  • The idea is to launch the regime of checks in March with 2,500 random tests on processed food for horse DNA and 4,000 for bute. The results will be declared on April 15
  • The scale of DNA tests for April and May will be decided later
  • Ministers also agreed on tightening co-ordination between national authorities, using Europol, the Hague-based EU law enforcement agency whose normal remit is create a "safer Europe" by helping member states "in their fight against serious international crime and terrorism"

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