The extra tests are to make “absolutely certain” the U.S. is unaffected by the overseas recalls on horse meat…
WASHINGTON—Europe’s horse-meat scandal is prompting the U.S. to increase the “species” testing it does on imports to detect any traces of equine contamination in products labeled as beef, pork or other meat.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Monday ordered inspectors to increase testing on all meat imports from Ireland, Poland, the U.K., countries where meat production has been implicated in the scandal.
The inspectors were also told to begin performing species tests on some beef-product imports, regardless of what country it comes from. The extra tests are to make “absolutely certain” the U.S. is unaffected by the overseas recalls on horse meat, a USDA official said Monday. The official declined to discuss the levels of testing.
USDA officials have previously said Americans are in no danger of eating horse disguised in meat products because the U.S. doesn’t import beef from countries involved in the European scandal. The U.S. imports no beef from the U.K., Ireland, Poland or Iceland, but those countries do ship pork and other meats here.
Ireland’s agriculture ministry confirmed in March that government officials had detected horse meat in beef products there. Horse meat can be sold for consumption in the European Union, but it must be labeled in food products.
The European Commission said in March it has begun a broad testing program for undeclared horse in European meat. Horse meat can be sold for consumption in the European Union, but it must be labeled in food products.
Meanwhile, Oklahoma last month passed a law permitting horses to be slaughtered in the state to produce meat for human consumption, the latest salvo in a national debate over how to deal with wild and abandoned horses.
The U.S. Congress is considering a measure that would ban horse slaughter nationally.
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