Two UK plants closed as 'horse for beef' scandal hits home

First British companies implicated in food fraud scandal as EU farm ministers meet for talks

LAST UPDATED AT 09:06 ON Wed 13 Feb 2013

THE HORSE-FOR-BEEF scandal has come closer to home with the closure of two UK meat plants on the eve of Environment Secretary Owen Paterson's trip to Brussels for a crisis meeting with other European farm ministers. These are the latest developments:

UK raids. Two British firms, an abattoir and a meat processing plant, were raided and shut down in a joint action by police and the Food Standards Association (FSA) yesterday. Peter Boddy Licensed Slaughterhouse in West Yorkshire and Farmbox Meats in Aberystwyth, Wales are alleged to have been involved in using horsemeat to make kebabs and beefburgers on sale in Britian, The Guardian reports. Both companies deny wrongdoing. These are the first incidents of British firms being implicated in food fraud. Until now, the finger of suspicion has pointed to Poland and Romania.

EU summit. Owen Paterson, who called the British development "absolutely shocking", will today attend crisis talks with his fellow EU agriculture ministers on where the scandal originated and how to restore consumer confidence. Romania has denied reports that its abattoirs are the source of the contaminated meat.

More countries affected. The BBC reports that up to 16 countries have now been affected by food mislabeling. Switzerland and Sweden are the latest countries to announce they are launching DNA testing of ready-made meals and will pull some products from supermarket shelves, The Times notes.

Waitrose meatballs. The contaminated meat scandal has hit the upmarket food retailer with tests revealing that their Essential British Frozen Beef Meatballs contained some pork. Although safe to eat, the meatballs have been withdrawn. Tesco, Sainsbury's, ASDA, the Co-op, Lidl, Iceland, Aldi and Morrisons have also removed products from shelves in the wake of the scandal. · 

Disqus - noscript

At least horse meat is grass or top quality grain fed and less full of antibiotics and steroids than beef. Especially cheap beef that goes into burger, kebabs, lasagna dishes. The abattoirs were doing the consuming public a favor healthwise by giving them horse rather than cattle products.

...my doctor warned me to "watch what I eat"! So I bought a ticket for the Grand National.

Whipsnade Zoo is now under investigation - apparently zebra DNA has been discovered in Tesco barcodes.

...and in the aftermath of the Jimmy Savile hysteria, the film, the "Horse Whisperer", has been banned - apparently it is about grooming young horses

For further concise, balanced comment and analysis on the week's news, try The Week magazine. Subscribe today and get 6 issues completely free.