Europol arrests 66 people in horsemeat investigation
Tests in Ireland in 2013 showed some products labelled beef were up to 29% horsemeat
Europol said on Sunday 66 people had been arrested for trading horsemeat unfit for human consumption
Europol said on Sunday 66 people had been arrested for trading horsemeat unfit for human consumption and it had seized bank accounts, properties and luxury cars following an investigation into a food scandal that shocked European consumers.
The investigation follows tests carried out in Ireland in 2013 on beef products.
In January 2013 the Food Safety Authority of Ireland published the findings of a survey of beef product tests which showed that one beef burger contained found 29 per cent equine DNA in the meat content.
It soon emerged that it was an EU-wide issue and beef lasagne from the French food supplier Comigel was found to contain up to 100 per cent horse meat.
At that time, beef was selling for around €4 a kilo while horse meat cost about 90 cent.
Spanish police began investigating a group which slaughtered Spanish and Portuguese horses too old or in too bad a condition for human consumption, forged their documentation and sent them to Belgium, a large horse meat exporter in the European Union.
The European police agency Europol said 65 people were arrested in Spain, and the main suspect, a Dutch citizen, was arrested in Belgium.
“In Spain, 65 people were arrested and charged with crimes such as animal abuse, document forgery, perverting the course of justice, crimes against public health, money laundering and being part of a criminal organisation,” it said in a statement.
An EU investigation revealed that less than 5 per cent of all beef products tested had come back positive for horse DNA.