EUROPEAN UNION AGRICULTURE Ministers are to meet in Brussels today to discuss the ongoing horsemeat controversy which has now reportedly affected as many as 16 countries.
The talks will be hosted by the EU Health Commissioner Tonio Borg but have been called at the request of Ireland whose minister Simon Coveney is the current chair of EU agriculture ministers.
The scandal broke in Ireland last month when equine DNA was discovered in some frozen beef burger products with subsequent tests on other frozen products such as lasagne and bolognese finding as much as 100 per cent horsemeat in these products sold throughout the continent.
Suspicion now centres on a criminal conspiracy in which meat sold in Europe as beef is mislabelled and in fact contains horsemeat. Coveney said last week that “somebody is selling rogue product, and somebody knows about it”.
UK investigators, who also suspect fraud, raided a slaughter house and meat firm last night.
Peter Boddy Licensed Slaughterhouse in West Yorkshire and Farmbox Meats in Wales were raided by police and officials form the Food Standards Agency last night and work in those firms has been suspended.
“The Agency and the police are looking into the circumstances through which meat products, purporting to be beef for kebabs and burgers, were sold when they were in fact horse,” the FSA said in a statement.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4′s Today programme, the FSA’s Andrew Rhodes said he expected test results on meat to start coming in by Friday.
Meanwhile a team of Polish veterinarians are due in Dublin today to carry out investigations into claims that horsemeat contained in some frozen burgers that were produced in Ireland originated in Poland.