Portugal finds horse painkiller drug in burgers, meatballs

March 7, 2013

Burgers and meatballs sold in Portugal by French retailer Auchan have been found to contain horsemeat with small traces of an animal painkiller that is potentially harmful to humans, Portugal's consumer watchdog said Thursday.

The country's consumer protection association DECO said it had "detected anti-inflammatory drugs in found in food products on sale in Portugal, which may pose a risk to public health as the use of such drugs is banned in animals destined for ."

"Phenylbutazone was detected in samples of Auchan hamburger and in Polegar meatballs, which according to an initial analysis, contained horse DNA," the group said in a statement.

Polegar is Auchan's low-price brand.

According to Deco, the samples showed only low-level traces of phenylbutazone, also known as "bute", and did "not present an immediate danger" to people's health.

The association announced on Monday that these meat products sold in Portugal by Auchan, as well as lasagnes sold by the Spanish El Corte Ingles group, contained traces of unlabelled horsemeat.

The Portuguese branch of Auchan confirmed that the meat products, bought by Deco on February 20 for testing, were removed from shelves on February 22 after tests done by the French retailer also revealed the presence of equine meat.

The scandal of horsemeat being passed on as beef has engulfed a string of European countries in recent weeks, with millions of ready meals pulled from .

The row has embroiled major international corporations including Swiss food giant Nestle, which recently recalled lasagnes destined for restaurants in Portugal.

Late last month, Portuguese seized 79 tonnes of "meat and meat-based products" destined for retail and distribution outlets that contained horsemeat despite not being labelled as such.

Explore further: Ikea says no horsemeat in US meatballs

Related Stories

Ikea says no horsemeat in US meatballs

February 25, 2013
Ikea said Monday there was no horsemeat in its popular meatballs sold in the United States, after the Swedish furniture giant withdrew possibly horsemeat-tainted meatballs from stores in Europe.

Russia finds horsemeat in sausages

February 27, 2013
Russia said Wednesday it had found horsemeat in a shipment of pork sausages imported from Austria in its first known case of horsemeat contamination as the scandal spread further across Europe.

Burger King drops supplier linked to horsemeat (Update)

January 24, 2013
(AP)—British and Irish burger fans could face a Whopper shortage. Burger King has stopped buying beef from an Irish meat processor whose patties were found to contain traces of horsemeat.

Nestle finds horsemeat in pasta dishes in Italy, Spain

February 19, 2013
Swiss food giant Nestle has become the latest retailer hit by Europe's horsemeat scandal, announcing it is removing pasta meals from supermarket shelves in Italy and Spain due to contamination.

Ikea pulls meatballs from Europe stores as horsemeat found (Update)

February 25, 2013
Swedish furniture giant Ikea has withdrawn its own-label meatballs from sale in at least 16 European countries after Czech authorities found horsemeat in the product, the company said Monday.

UK: Lasagna products 60 percent horsemeat (Update)

February 7, 2013
(AP)—Some beef lasagna products recalled from British stores contained more than 60 percent horsemeat, U.K. food safety authorities said Thursday. It was the latest revelation in a growing scandal surrounding the use of ...

Recommended for you

Sugar not so sweet for mental health

July 27, 2017
Sugar may be bad not only for your teeth and your waistline, but also your mental health, claimed a study Thursday that was met with scepticism by other experts.

Could insufficient sleep be adding centimeters to your waistline?

July 27, 2017
Adults in the UK who have poor sleep patterns are more likely to be overweight and obese and have poorer metabolic health, according to a new study.

Vitamin E-deficient embryos are cognitively impaired even after diet improves

July 27, 2017
Zebrafish deficient in vitamin E produce offspring beset by behavioral impairment and metabolic problems, new research at Oregon State University shows.

The role of dosage in assessing risk of hormone therapy for menopause

July 27, 2017
When it comes to assessing the risk of estrogen therapy for menopause, how the therapy is delivered—taking a pill versus wearing a patch on one's skin—doesn't affect risk or benefit, researchers at UCLA and elsewhere ...

Blowing smoke? E-cigarettes might help smokers quit

July 26, 2017
People who used e-cigarettes were more likely to kick the habit than those who didn't, a new study found.

Brain disease seen in most football players in large report

July 25, 2017
Research on 202 former football players found evidence of a brain disease linked to repeated head blows in nearly all of them, from athletes in the National Football League, college and even high school.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.