A second horse feed firm in Britain has been caught up in the morphine contamination incident, which made headlines after five racehorses tested positive to the prohibited substance.
The British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) said that, as well as feed company Dodson & Horrell, another company, Allen & Page, has discovered that some of the raw material used in feeds may have been contaminated by seeds from poppies.
BETA said both manufacturers sourced the affected ingredients from the same supplier, which it said had now accepted responsibility for the contamination.
Morphine is a naturally occurring prohibited substance, known as a NOPS. NOPS are naturally present within certain feed ingredients or can arise as a result of inadvertent cross-contamination during processing, transport or storage.
BETA said whilst the presence of poppy seeds may be minimal, it may still be sufficient for the trace amounts of morphine subsequently present to cause a horse to fail a dope test.
The substance itself at the levels found was of no concern for either human or horse welfare, BETA said.
Dodson & Horrell found the contaminated material in its Alfalfa Oil Plus.
It subsequently recalled all stocks of Alfalfa Oil Plus with the batch numbers week 20-28 as a precautionary measure, in accordance with protocols.
The company said no positive test results had been recorded in any other Dodson & Horrell product currently in the market.
Allen & Page said it used the same supplier of raw material but has no connection with racing or any of the positive test results currently in the media, one of which involves the Queen’s racemare, Estimate.
It said there had been no positive tests to date through feeding Allen & Page products.
However, during testing, the company found a low level of contamination among raw materials at its mill. Although different from those affecting the other case, they came from the same supplier, which had accepted responsibility and was involved in an extensive internal investigation.
Although now identified and quarantined, there was a small possibility that some of the ingredients were included in feed that reached the marketplace, it said.
The source was identified this week by Allen & Page, and any remaining traces of contaminated ingredient were quarantined at the mill and disposed of. Only Allen & Page feeds with a batch date of between June 18 and July 7 might potentially be affected.
The company has contacted the riders that it regularly supplies. However, according to BETA, the company felt it should disclose that there remained a possibility that riders may be still competing while using feed from the batches named above.
In both cases, leisure riders and those not competing remain unaffected.