Europe Now Scared to Eat US Horse Meat

Officials fear racehorse doping has made meat too toxic to consume

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 10, 2012 1:09 PM CST

(Newser) – The latest sign that doping is a growing problem in the horse-racing world: European food safety officials now fear our horse meat is too toxic to eat. As the New York Times explains, about 15% of the US horses bound for slaughter in Canada and Mexico (where such processing is legal) are racehorses. That population is required to have been free of some drugs for six months before being killed, but officials say it's simple to forge the affidavits confirming drug-free status, meaning some horses have been administered drugs just days before being shipped away. And that has Europe looking to impose tough new rules.

Among the regulations it's considering: requiring lifetime medication records before accepting any meat, and demanding that horses be held for six months before they can be slaughtered. At least one slaughterhouse is already turning away US racehorses, the Times reports. "We don’t want them," says the manager. "It’s too risky." One Tufts veterinarian and expert on the issue calls racehorses "walking pharmacies," noting that none of the drugs routinely given to them should be in the food chain. US authorities are aware of the problems, and Congress has called for stricter laws on racehorse doping.

Racehorses look out of their stalls at a horse racing training facility owned by Michael Gill in Oxford, Pa., Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2010.
Racehorses look out of their stalls at a horse racing training facility owned by Michael Gill in Oxford, Pa., Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2010.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
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