British police have raided a slaughterhouse and a meat processor suspected of selling horsemeat as beef.
It is the latest development on the widening scandal which has shocked consumers and exposed flawed food controls.
The firms’ owners in northern England and west Wales deny wrongdoing, but British Environment Secretary Owen Paterson is taking a tough stance:
“It is absolutely shocking we actually have found this practice going on within the UK. This is the first incident. We will be following it up with the full rigour of investigative powers invested in the Food Standards’ Agency. And if there has been criminal activity I expect police to bring in the full force of the criminal law.”
Responding to an investigation tracing once source of horsemeat back to a Romanian abattoir, the government there denied the company had committed any fraud.
Although the meat may have ended up in British burgers, Romania blames unscrupulous middlemen in a complex supply chain.
With the scandal affecting a growing number of European countries, the EU is hold a special meeting in Brussels today.