Horsemeat scandal an ‘act of fraud’

A complex network of companies mislabelling meat and trading it fraudulently was behind the horsemeat scandal earlier this year.

This is according to a committee of British MPs. In a report published this morning, they are critical of UK and Irish authorities in the failure to acknowledge the extent of the network or prosecute any companies involved.

MPs on the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs select committee said they were “dismayed at the slow pace of investigations” into how horsemeat came to be passed off as beef in millions of ‘beef burgers’ and ready meals in the frozen and processed meat sector.

The committee also found that the official UK and Irish response to prosecute any companies was poor.

“We are dismayed at the slow pace of investigations and would like assurance that prosecutions will be mounted where there is evidence of fraud or other illegal activity,” it outlined in the report.

The MPs acknowledged that horsemeat contamination was limited to a “relatively small” number of beef products sold in the UK, with 99 per cent of products tested containing no horse DNA.

But the committee said there were clearly “many loopholes” in the current system of horse passports and called for assurances that horse movements within the UK and between the UK and Ireland were being properly monitored.

The report, published this morning, follows a series of parliamentary hearings in Britain earlier this year.

A snapshot of the main findings to follow, along with Irish reaction

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