Less than 5% of tested products had horse DNA and about 0.5% of equine carcasses tested positive for phenylbutazone, the anti-inflammatory drug, commonly known as bute. The drug is used in veterinary medicine, but is banned from the human food chain.
The purpose of the co-ordinated testing was to determine the scale of the misleading labelling across the EU and more in particular - to detect the presence of horsemeat in products marketed as beef and to test for bute in horsemeat.
These results correspond with the joint statement published by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) on 15 April 2013 which concluded that the health risks for consumers from bute were extremely limited and the probability of a person being both exposed to it and susceptible to develop related health conditions extremely low – in the range from 2 in a trillion to 1 in 100 million.
Member states' experts will meet at the Commission on Friday, 19 April to discuss whether the EU coordinated monitoring plan should be extended. The plan focuses on controls that investigate the fraudulent practices and on ways to restore consumer confidence.