AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS – Food safety authorities in The Netherlands have ordered the recall of approximately 55,000 tons of beef from 130 Dutch companies over concerns the product may be contaminated with horse meat. The Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority initiated the recall after it was determined the customers of two European beef slaughterhouses that have been implicated in the horse meat scandal were unable to guarantee they had not received beef that may have been blended with horse meat.

The Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority said while there are no indications the product may be a danger to public health, the recall was initiated because the origins of the product could not be guaranteed.

Asda, a British supermarket chain owned by Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., recalled a canned corned beef product after tests revealed traces of phenylbutazone. Animals treated with the veterinary drug are prohibited from the food chain on concerns it may pose a risk to human health.

Asda said it pulled Smart Price Corned Beef in March after receiving a positive test for horse meat above the 1% threshold set by the Food Standards Agency (F.S.A.). Tests on additional batches of the products were positive for “very low levels” of phenylbutazone, also known as 'bute' at 4 parts per billion. The test results were released on April 9.

“The F.S.A. has reassured us that the quantities we’ve found pose a low risk to human health,” Asda said in a statement on its website. “They say: `Bute is not allowed to enter the food chain; however, even if people have eaten products which contain contaminated horse meat, the risk to health is very low.’

“Although there is a very low health risk, we are recalling this product. This simply means that we ask anyone who has tinned Smart Price Corned Beef (340g) in their cupboards at home to bring it back into store for a full refund.”

Phenylbutazone, an anti-inflammatory drug, may be used to treat non-food producing animals, such as dogs and sport horses. It may not be used to treat food animals in European Union member states.