“The Government was last night urgently investigating allegations that ministers were alerted as long ago as 2011 that illegal horse meat was entering the food chain.
John Young, a former manager at the Meat Hygiene Service, which is now part of the Food Standards Agency (FSA), said he helped draft a warning letter to the former agriculture minister Sir Jim Paice. In it, the minister was told that the Government’s passport scheme – designed to prevent horse meat [from] entering the food chain – was not working.
“Defra gave nearly 80 organisations the authority to produce passports and some of them are little better than children could produce,” he said. …
He claimed that as a result of the lax passport system there was no way of telling whether horses had been given the potentially dangerous anti-inflammatory drug phenylbutazone, known as “bute”, before being slaughtered.