A Lancashire farm has been investigated over claims that a family ate one of the horses they bred, which was contaminated with equine drugs.
Officials from Chorley Council’s environmental health team were sent to Brewers Fold Cottage, in Brindle, after the Food Standards Agency received reports that contaminated horse meat had been sent there from an abattoir in Cheshire.
Tests showed the meat, banned in this country, had proven positive for the drug phenylbutazone, which is used to treat lame horses.
It is believed the carcass, which had been sent from the Brindle farm, had been butchered and then split between them and a second farm in Kirklees in West Yorkshire.
It is believed that the families at the two farms are related.
When officials visited the Yorkshire farm, they found that the family had already eaten the meat which was not fit for human consumption.
Coun Terry Brown, who is responsible for environmental health issues at Chorley Council, said: “Chorley Council was notified by the Food Standards Agency that a horse carcass, which originated from the Chorley borough, had tested positive for phenylbutazone in 2012.
“As soon as we were aware, the council visited the farm in Brindle where the horse originated from and was told that the horse had been sent to slaughter and the meat had not returned to the Chorley borough. The council passed on these details to the Food Standards Agency which is responsible for continuing the investigation.”
The issue was highlighted when an MP asked the Secretary of State for Environment Food and Rural Affairs what had happened to carcasses which had tested positive for the drug in 2012, and comes just weeks after horse meat was found in supermarket burgers.
However, a spokesman for the FSA insisted there had been no risk to the public as the meat had not been offered for sale.
In a statement it said: “Horses that have been treated with the drug phenylbutazone or ‘bute’ are not allowed to enter the food chain. In 2012, the FSA identified a small number of cases where horses tested positive for bute. None of the meat had been placed for sale in the UK market. Where the meat had been exported to other countries, the relevant food safety authorities were informed.” The drug is banned from human consumption as it can cause cancer and have other lethal effects.
When the Evening Post contacted the Brindle farm, the lady who answered denied all knowledge of the case.