A police operation lead by Spain has exposed a horsemeat racket that spans Europe, Europol, the EU's police agency, states.
Police made 65 arrests regarding the issue, which involved horsemeat that was unfit for human consumption that was being sold as edible. The crimes against those arrested include forgery, money laundering, racketeering and animal abuse. Additional charges include committing crimes against public health and perverting the course of justice, reports BBC News.
The Spanish investigation into the ring began a year ago when some unusual trends were discovered in the horsemeat market. France, Belgium, Italy, Portugal, Switzerland, Romania and the United Kingdom also helped with the investigation. Police raided the ring in Leon and Alicante (Spain), seizing or blocking bank accounts, property and cars.
It is believed that a Dutch businessman controlled the horsemeat ring from southeast Spain. He has been arrested. The same man was also sought in connection with a Republic of Ireland scandal in 2013, in which horse meat was found in beef burgers.
The horsemeat ring was slaughtering horses that were in poor condition, old or labeled “not suitable for human consumption” in two different locations. The animals came from northern Spain and Portugal, and their meat was then sent to Belgium, a large horsemeat exporter.
To ensure that the horses were not identified, identifying documentation and microchips were modified by the group.
Samples that were analyzed in The Hague determined that the meat was bound for markets outside Spain as the meat samples matched others found abroad.
Read more at BBC News.
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