New Mexico horse plant faces new legal hurdle
The attorney general in New Mexico has ruled that veterinary drugs commonly administered to horses would render their meat adulterated under state law and not fit for human consumption, reports the New York Times. The ruling deals another legal blow to Valley Meat Co., which is trying to establish the country’s only horse processing plant in Roswell, N.M.
“Our legal analysis concludes that state law does not allow for production of meat that is chemically tainted under federal regulations,” Gary K. King, the state attorney general, said in a statement. “New Mexico law is very clear that it would be prohibited and illegal.”
The analysis is in response to a request for advice by NM State Senator Richard Martinez, of Española. A letter to Senator Martinez states: “Based on our examination of the relevant constitutional, statutory and case law authorities, and the information available to us at this time, we conclude horse meat from U.S. horses would fit the legal definition of an adulterated food product under the NM Food Act if the meat came from horses that had been treated with chemical substances that the federal Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) has deemed unfit for human consumption. We also conclude that if horse meat were an adulterated food product, the NM Food Act would prohibit its manufacture, sale or delivery.”
Valley Meat Co. would be the first horse-processing plant in the United States since 2007, when Congress passed a provision that barred the Agriculture Department from spending any money to inspect horse meat. That provision, which had to be approved annually, was lifted in 2011. A proposal to re-establish the ban has been included in the Obama administration’s 2014 budget.
Source: New York Times