EU companies quiet on horse meat stories

Europol and DG Sante have remained silent on Croatian media stories that horse meat was discovered being bought as veal within the nation.

Native media reported the findings had been made as a part of Operation Opson X, which is coordinated by Europol and Interpol. DG Sante of the European Fee has supported nationwide investigations taking a look at horse meat gross sales.

Additional articles have quoted Marija Vuckovic, Croatian minister of agriculture, saying meat substitution with horse was not present in Croatia however was recognized in different EU international locations.

In 2013, Irish authorities uncovered horse meat being bought as beef in burgers and the fraud unfold throughout Europe resulting in hundreds of thousands of merchandise being recalled.

Ongoing horse-related investigations
The most recent Opson effort featured a focused motion on horse passport paperwork and horse meat in Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, France, Eire, Italy and Spain. Investigations discovered some legal actions and courtroom instances have been opened in a number of European international locations.

In Operation Opson IX, a venture was launched to help nationwide authorities in combating the sale of unlawful horse meat. This was led by Belgium, Eire and the Netherlands with assist from DG Sante. Comply with-up throughout Opson X led to 3 investigations being began.

“There was an operation concentrating on horse passports on this 12 months’s Opson, it’s a phenomenon we nonetheless see ongoing, it’s been a precedence for 2 years and there’s a working group on this particular theme for subsequent 12 months’s motion as effectively. We’ll present extra info as quickly as doable however for the time-being every thing is ongoing. We don’t have the overview of what the Croatian authorities have been doing,” stated a Europol spokesperson.

A DG Sante spokeswoman stated Europol is in cost and the EU Fee didn’t have any info. The Croatian Meals Company (HAH) has but to reply to a request for remark.

Horse meat traceability
In Belgium, 230 horse passports had been reviewed by the Federal Company for the Security of the Meals Chain (FASFC) as a part of Opson X in addition to 21 operations, together with 5 in slaughterhouses. Findings included 35 false passports and seizures on 11 events.

Opson IX work on horse meat concerned Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, Eire, Spain and the UK.

Actions centered on checking paperwork of greater than 157,000 horses from eight international locations and about 117 tons of horse meat. Dwell animals and greater than 17 tons of meat had been seized from a number of slaughterhouses in Belgium, Eire, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands.

Inspections of slaughterhouses in a number of international locations confirmed that about 20 p.c of the international passports used for these horses confirmed indicators of forgery. Competitors horses with cast paperwork had been additionally despatched to slaughterhouses.

A falsified passport doesn’t robotically imply a threat to the buyer. When a threat is recognized, dwell animals and horse carcasses are seized, which has occurred in just a few European slaughterhouses. The primary function of passport forgery is to introduce horses excluded from the meals chain into the provision community.

In Opson X, FASFC took samples from horses eligible for slaughter to search for drug residues. This revealed an absence of traceability. Greater than 50 p.c of the equines didn’t have info on drug remedies that they had acquired earlier than slaughter. Analyzes revealed hint quantities of molecules which are licensed however can solely be given to horses below sure circumstances. Nevertheless, the company stated no non-compliant meat entered the meals chain.

In 2020, there have been 3,811 horse carcasses assessed at Belgian slaughterhouses and 59 had been excluded from the meals chain.

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