Our staff in England and Ireland have been sounding the alarm for the past two weeks. And now it comes out. The British are just as involved in the horse meat scandal as the Europeans. Police raids in Britain have exposed that horses are being slaughtered for their meat which is processed and labelled as beef or lamb in burgers and kebabs.
Cross-posted from the Daily Mail
by SEAN POULTER and ANTHONY BOND
The shocking find, which implicates the UK for the first time in the food fraud scandal, came during police raids in Yorkshire and West Wales.
Until last night, foreign abattoirs and food manufacturers had been blamed for what ministers called an ‘international criminal conspiracy’.
But food officials say horses were slaughtered here and their meat sold to takeaways all over the country. The burgers were labelled as beef and the kebabs as lamb. The alarming twist suggests retired racehorses and ponies could have been sold on as regular meat.
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson described the development as ‘utterly and totally disgraceful’ but pulled out of making an emergency statement to the House of Commons.
The Government has been accused of delay, confusion and buck-passing in its handling of the crisis. In the three weeks that followed the initial discovery of horse meat contamination, ministers insisted it was not a British problem while the Food Standards Agency limited the scope of its initial tests to around 230 food samples.
But following revelations of high levels of contamination of Findus products Mr Paterson called in supermarkets and food firms for talks and insisted on a much wider range of testing of all processed beef products.
Mary Creagh, Labour’s environment spokesman, said: ‘I’m glad the FSA has investigated the concerns about horse meat entering the food chain I first raised with ministers three weeks ago. It’s right that action is being taken to deal with the criminals whose activities are damaging confidence in the UK food industry.’
The astonishing revelation makes clear that horse meat has reached British high streets from three separate sources over the past year or more.
First, horse meat from Poland was sent to Ireland where it was turned into burgers for Tesco, Burger King, the Co-op, Asda and Aldi, among others.
Then, horse meat from Romania was sent to a French food company, Comigel, which turned it into lasagne and spaghetti bolognese for Findus, Tesco and Aldi.
Police raids in Britain have exposed horses being slaughtered and their meat labelled as beef or lamb
Now a Yorkshire slaughterhouse and a food manufacturer in Wales have taken horses and turned them in to 100 per cent horse meat burgers and kebabs.
Police raids were carried out yesterday on the Peter Boddy Licensed Slaughterhouse at Todmorden, West Yorkshire, which is licensed to kill horses.
It supplied horse carcasses to Farmbox Meats Ltd of Llandre in Aberystwyth, which then turned them into burgers labelled as beef or kebabs that would presumably be sold as lamb.
Last night, the FSA said: ‘The FSA has detained all meat found and seized paperwork, including customer lists from the two companies.’ The FSA’s director of operations, Andrew Rhodes, said: ‘I have suspended both plants immediately while our investigations continue.’ Read more >>