Dutch raid firm suspected of horsemeat fraud

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The Dutch food and consumer watchdog on Tuesday raided a southern trader suspected of horsemeat fraud as part of an official investigation into Europe's tainted beef scandal, the public prosecutor said.

Officials confiscated documents from the business based in Breda, named by Dutch media as the Windmeijer Meat Trading company, prosecutors said, adding that a second Cypriot-based company which reports identified as Draap Trading, was also suspected of fraud.

Draap Trading was fingered last month as a suspected link between Romanian abattoirs and a French supplier, but its owner Jan Fasen has strongly denied any wrongdoing.

"The companies allegedly did not comply with tracing requirements of their meat," the public prosecutor said in a statement, adding "where the meat originated and where it was being sent is the subject of this investigation."

In one of the latest developments in the sprawling outrage over tainted beef, horsemeat has been found in ground beef supplied to Taco Bell's three restaurants in Britain, the US fast food giant said on Friday.

Millions of ready meals have been pulled from supermarket shelves across Europe after tests revealed that meat labelled as beef actually contained large quantities of horsemeat.

The row has embroiled major international corporations including Swedish furniture chain Ikea and Nestle, the Swiss food giant.

Governments have been scrambling to figure out how and where the mislabelling happened in a sprawling chain of production spanning abattoirs and meat suppliers across the continent.

The European Union's health commissioner said on Thursday that the bloc is planning stiffer sanctions against food fraud in the wake of the scandal.

© 2013 AFP

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