Dutch meat wholesaler raided for 'mixing horse and beef'
Dutch officials on Friday raided a meat processing plant in the south of the Netherlands believed to be mixing horsemeat and beef and selling it on as pure beef, the public prosecutor said.
The plant in North Brabant province allegedly bought horse carcasses from the Netherlands and Ireland which were shredded and mixed with beef and sold on as pure beef, the prosecutor's office said in a statement.
It was not clear whether the plant in question was connected with the horsemeat scandal sweeping through Europe and it was not known where the allegedly mixed meat was eventually delivered, the statement said.
Dutch media said the plant belonged to Willy Selten and was in the city of Oss.
The website of Selten's wholesale meat company says it is "an internationally operating company, specialising in boning and cutting beef" that employs about 100 people.
It handles imports from various European countries and delivers to retailers, meat wholesalers, butchers, the meat processing industry and supermarkets throughout Europe.
The plant was probed as part of a criminal investigation by the prosecutor's office and the government's NVWA food and consumer watchdog. It is suspected of fraud and money laundering, the prosecutor's office said.
Officials seized company paperwork during the raid, which came as the European Union agreed to launch tests for horse DNA in meat products as part of a plan to battle food fraud following the eruption of the horsemeat scandal.
Since the problem was first discovered in Ireland in January, governments have scrambled to figure out how and where the mislabelling of the meat happened in the sprawling chain of production spanning abattoirs and meat suppliers across Europe.
© 2013 AFP