Bute! Arghh! Panic!

cornedbeefArghhh! There’s bute in our corned beef! We’re all going to die! Do we really need to panic? Without trying to  give away the punch line, I suspect not.

The Labour MP [Mary Creagh – shadow environment seretary] said: “It is deeply worrying that bute, a drug banned from the human food chain, has been discovered in one brand of corned beef.” Huffpo

 

On further investigation it turns out the level of bute found in the offending items is 4ppb – four parts per billion. That’s billion, not million. So just how dangerous is bute? Phenylbutazone is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory used for the treatment of muscle and joint pain in horses. It’s use in humans has been banned in the US but it is still used in the UK in certain limited circumstances. The usual therapeutic dose in humans in 100mg. One tenth of a gram.

nels

So lets get some perspective. At 4ppb you would need to each a lot of corned beef to reach even the therapeutic dose. Buy my rough, back of the envelope calculations you’d have to eat enough cans of corned beef to make 126 towers of tins each the height of Nelson’s column.

I reckon you are more likely to be killed by can related injuries than you are to be harmed by the bute.