Arrests made in horse meat scandal

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
29 August 2013

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Two men have been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud in connection with the horse meat scandal.

The City of London Police, which is the national policing lead for fraud, will not provide any further details about when and where the arrests took place for “operational reasons” but said they were part of an “initial phase” of the inquiry.

A further two men were interviewed under caution while a number of businesses and homes across the UK have been searched.

The force, which was asked to support the Food Standards Agency's (FSA) own inquiry, launched its investigation in May.

Detective chief superintendent Oliver Shaw said: “This is an extremely complex investigation covering a number of jurisdictions and a variety of businesses.

“We are working closely with police forces, other law enforcement agencies and regulators to determine whether horse meat being used in a range of meat products was deliberate and coordinated criminal activity.”

In July MPs on the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee criticised the lack of prosecutions in the scandal and said the FSA must become “a more effective regulator”.

A report to the committee said testing showed five per cent of products across the EU were found to be contaminated with horse DNA, compared with one per cent in the UK.

An independent review of the FSA's response to scandal by professor Pat Troop, published in July, referred to “hesitancy” on the part of the department.

She concluded, among other things, that the FSA should strengthen its major incident plan and its powers should be reviewed, including the possibility of being given responsibility for all prosecutions.

In June the government announced professor Chris Elliot would lead an independent review of the UK’s food system in light of the scandal.

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