TORONTO — The Toronto Star’s undercover reporters have allegedly uncovered an ugly truth about how tainted horsemeat can pass through the system and end up on the plate. The report sheds light on the difficulty in Canada’s food-inspection system in tracing prohibited drugs in horsemeat bound for our plates.
Reporters found that horses headed to the slaughterhouse have passports detailing the animal’s medial history to ensure the meat doesn’t contain drugs that can be dangerous to humans, such as phenylbutazone (bute) and nitrofurazone. But, it turns out, nine out of 10 passports obtained by The Star were filled with mistakes or incomplete.
“If you come right down to the bottom of this, and the majority of these racehorses have had some of these [prohibited] drugs administered, what good are any documents, really?” asked Alex Atamanenko, a politician who is pushing private member’s bill C-322, which will severely restrict horse slaughter in Canada.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) told The Star safety is the agency’s top priority, and the system is safe, because government inspectors at privately owned abattoirs ensure passports are complete and accurate. [thestar.com]