Horsemeat investigation results in numerous arrests

A European crackdown on the illegal horsemeat trade resulted in 26 arrests on Friday (24 April), according to the European Union’s Judicial Cooperation Unit (Eurojust).

Eurojust, which ran the investigation, reported that it had stopped an organised criminal network involved in the trade in illegal horsemeat, resulting in the seizure of 800 horse passports and €37,000 in cash.

Police and judicial authorities from France, Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and the UK were involved in the “common action day” investigation, which was centred in France, the Netherlands and Belgium, with “dozens of searches of commercial and private premises carried out.”

Eurojust reported that, between 2010 and 2013, 4,700 horses unfit for human consumption were slaughtered and introduced into the legal food chain – 400 horse passports with “anomalies” were found in France alone.

Meanwhile, an investigation into the main suspect began in 2012, which revealed links to Ireland and the UK.

The prosecution of a Dutch meat wholesaler, the first related to the horsemeat scandal, was delivered earlier this month. Willy Selten, 45, was sentenced to two-and-a-half-years for selling more than 300 tonnes of horsemeat on as beef.

Eurojust said the investigation was ongoing.

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