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Criminal adulteration of meat requires urgent police action

Yesterday, the Burger Manufacturing Company in Llanelwedd, Builth Wells was found to have positive traces of horsemeat in three samples taken following tests by Powys County Council, at the request of the Food Standards Agency.

I have been concerned from the beginning of the horsemeat saga as to the true extent of this food adulteration and have urged Police to act to crack the widespread criminal network.

It is hugely disappointing to learn of this occurring within the constituency. A good company’s reputation has been damaged because of criminal activity somewhere in the food chain. These 1% traces are further evidence that we are uncovering an unscrupulous and criminal enterprise which is operating Europe wide, profiting by adulterating meat. The risks these criminals are taking are because of the price that horsemeat can be bought at compared to beef. Beef is on average £3,000 per ton, while horsemeat is a mere £700 per ton.

While I am sure that these tests will show these products are not harmful to health we must be able to trace the origin of the horsemeat as we cannot say with any certainty that it is safe. Safety depends on traceability, and traceability means being able to follow the food chain from the owner of the animal, through to who transported it to the abattoir where it was killed, where the carcass was broken down into joints and mince, and then where it was sold and bought.

We need to be able to find at what stage the wrongly described horsemeat entered the food chain. I will continue to urge Police locally and nationally, through organisations such as Europol, to act to quickly to stop this illicit adulteration of foods.

We can then begin the process of rebuilding consumer confidence in our food.

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