Molasses containing “minute traces” of the banned hormone zilpaterol is suspected of being the cause of the contamination in some batches of GAIN Equine Nutrition’s horse feed.
On Friday 2 October, GAIN advised customers not to feed its products until it completed investigations into the potential contamination of some of its feed.
Zilpaterol is a banned growth hormone in the EU and used as a performance-enhancer in some beef production systems outside of the EU.
On Sunday a spokesperson for GAIN said at 9pm on Saturday 10 October ED&F Man, an international supplier of the feed ingredient molasses, issued an “urgent action and recall notice” of some its products.
GAIN said the recall notice said: “ED&F Man Liquid Products Ireland Ltd is informing you that products listed below are suspected of containing minute traces of the substance zilpaterol.
“Although the initial levels detected are extremely low, the substance in question is banned in the European Union,” it said.
A GAIN spokesperson said: “Following the confirmation of an equine feed issue on Friday 2 October, GAIN undertook a forensic investigation which swiftly and accurately pinpointed the source.
“GAIN switched molasses supplier on Monday 5 October and resumed the production of equine feed following consultation with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM), who are the regulatory body responsible for the feed sector in Ireland.
“Deliveries to customers and retail outlets recommenced on Wednesday 7 October and the team are working to replenish stocks as quickly as possible across all markets.
“We again apologise sincerely to our valued customers for any inconvenience caused. The entire GAIN team would also like to thank customers and the equine community for the support shown to them in recent days.”
GAIN said the “substance has never formed part of any formulation in any GAIN animal nutrition ranges”.
Speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal, a spokesperson for ED&F Man Liquid Products Ireland said following confirmation on Friday 9 October 2020 that a laboratory testing of a sample of molasses had tested positive for zilpaterol, it has "instigated a recall of all molasses supplied from that shipment".
"We are working closely with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and are in contact with affected customers.
"The integrity of our supply chain and the traceability of all our ingredients is our absolute priority.
"An investigation has been launched to identify where and how contamination could have occurred and any additional information will be provided as appropriate in due course."
Last week, Glanbia, which owns GAIN Equine Nutrition, ordered all its stores to put a temporary hold on selling some batches of its bagged cattle feed.
The temporary suspension was linked to the investigation into the presence of an unapproved feed substance detected in its equine feed.