South American beef giant JBS has clarified it is not involved in the bute-related recall of Asda corned beef.

JBS used to produce tinned corned beef for Asda but said it had not done so for 18 months. The Asda Smart Price corned beef product that was found to contain traces of the veterinary drug phenylbutazone (bute) yesterday was made in France by French manufacturer Toupnot.  

The Asda recall could be damaging to the entire corned beef industry, so it was important consumers knew product from South America was not involved, JBS UK commercial director David Squires said.

“JBS produces corned beef at its factories in Brazil with only Brazilian beef from cattle collected directly from the farms in the company’s own fleet of cattle trucks,” JBS added in a statement. “JBS processes only beef from its own slaughter plants and no beef is bought from outside JBS’s own supply. It is understood the product involved [in the Asda recall] is of French origin produced with beef sourced from Europe.”

Asda recalled all date codes of its Smart Price tinned corned beef yesterday, after traces of bute were found in some batches. It has advised consumers not to eat the product but stressed it had been assured by the Food Standards Agency the potential risk to human health was very low. Bute is not allowed in any quantity in the human food chain as it can in rare cases be damaging to human health.

The Asda Smart Price corned beef tins were withdrawn from sale on 8 March, after testing positive for horse DNA.

Analysis: Horsemeat - the European web

Follow our dedicated horsemeat coverage.