A British slaughterhouse was raided as it was found to be the source of Horsemeat sold as ‘Beef’ in UK. As the horsemeat scandal is widening it also has been showing a Europe wide trend.
British police and regulators raided a slaughterhouse and a meat processor on Tuesday (February 12) suspected of selling horsemeat as beef, expanding a Europe-wide scandal that has shocked consumers and exposed flawed food safety controls.
The raids on companies were the first by officials investigating horsemeat supplies in a country where the issue has angered consumers and led to several big retailers pulling contaminated products from their shelves.
While it is not illegal to sell horsemeat in Britain, eating it is virtually taboo. The British government said anyone found to have fraudulently sold horsemeat should be prosecuted.
“It is absolutely shocking that we actually have found this practice happening in the UK – this is the first incident. We will be following it up with the full rigour of investigative powers invested in the Food Standards Agency,” Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson, said.
The Food Standards Agency, the British regulator, said it had suspended operations at an abattoir in northern England and a meat processing company in Wales while it investigates whether they were involved in horsemeat being missold as beef for kebabs and burgers.
“Well what we’ve found in our investigations is horsemeat produced in a slaughter house in Yorkshire being shipped to a food business near Aberiswhith in West Wales and that being used in a product which meant to be beef and not horse. Clearly that’s unacceptable and we’ve seized all of the products in that location as well as all of the paperwork as well as any other evidence that we need as part of our investigation,” said Andrew Rhodes of the Food Standards Agency.
The scandal, affecting a growing number of European countries and retailers, began in Ireland when horsemeat was found in frozen beef burgers. The inquiry has implicated companies across Europe, from France and the Netherlands to Cyprus and Romania.
Britain’s Paterson is due to meet European Union officials in Brussels on Wednesday (February 13) to discuss the issue.
The issue came to light on January 15 when routine tests by Irish authorities discovered horsemeat in beef burgers made by firms in Ireland and Britain and sold in supermarket chains including Tesco, Britain’s biggest retailer.
Concern grew last week when the British unit of frozen foods group Findus began recalling its beef lasagne on advice from its French supplier, Comigel, after tests showed concentrations of horsemeat in a range from 60 to 100 percent.
In a separate development on Tuesday, upmarket British retailer Waitrose, part of the John Lewis group withdrew packs of frozen beef meatballs after tests suggested they might contain pork.
“The meatballs are safe to eat but pork is not listed as an ingredient and should not be part of the recipe,” it said.
Rogue suppliers are suspected of trying to increase their margins by passing off cheap horsemeat as more expensive beef.
Food experts say globalisation has helped the industry grow, but has also created a complex system which has fuelled the risk of adulteration through neglect or fraud.
An initial investigation by French authorities revealed that the horsemeat that made its way throughout the supply chain to Britain and France originated from a Romanian abattoir.
On Monday (February 11), Romania’s prime minister denied that any Romanian companies had committed fraud in the affair.
More cases are expected to emerge during tests on processed beef products in Britain, with results due on Friday.