Wide police operation busts horsemeat racket

17 July, 2017, 15:25 | Author: Leticia Walters
  • Horsemeat Scam Leads to 66 Arrests in Europe

A Spanish-led European police investigation has broken up an organised crime group that allegedly sold horsemeat across Europe that was "not suitable" for human consumption, officials said Sunday.

Then, the meat was sent to Belgium, one of the biggest trading market of horse meat to the European Union.

They worked in co-ordination with Belgium, France, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Switzerland and the UK, Europol said in a statement.

The horsemeat scandal first surfaced in January 2013, when food inspectors in Ireland found horsemeat in ready-made burgers sold by British supermarket chain Tesco.

Other charges brought against those arrested were perverting the course of justice and committing crimes against public health.

Horses in Portugal and Spain deemed unfit for consumption were slaughtered and their meat passed off as edible.

SPANISH AUTHORITIES HAVE arrested 65 people for their involvement in a horsemeat criminal operation, as part of an investigation which was sparked by Irish authorities four years ago.

Old, unfit or just unwanted horses were deliberately targeted in Portugal and the north of Spain and put down in two concrete slaughterhouses, police say.

A French supplier, Comigel, which supplies products to customers in 16 countries, was at the time implicated in the scandal.

A spokesman said: "As a result of the police operations, several bank accounts and properties have been embargoed and five recently-purchased high-end vehicles seized".

According to the Financieele Dagblad, Fasen has an earlier conviction for selling cheap Argentine horse meat to Muslims as halal beef.

The group is suspected of having modified the horse's microchips and documentation to pass off the meat as edible.

A spokesman for the Civil Guard said officers launched a full-scale probe called Operation Gazel after detecting "atypical signs in the horse meat trade" last summer.

Analysis of samples conducted in The Hague concluded the meat was destined mainly for markets outside Spain, as the samples matched others found overseas.

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