Horsemeat: Arrested meat employees released on bail

Three men arrested last week in connection with the Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) investigation into the horsemeat scandal were released on bail at the weekend.

The men were arrested on Thursday (14 February) after the police and the FSA raided meat plants in West Yorkshire and Wales.

In connection with the investigations, which took place at Farmbox Meats in Wales and the Peter Boddy Slaughterhouse in West Yorkshire, police seized evidence from premises in Hull and London.

Following the arrests and the latest on the horsemeat scandal, deputy minister for Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and European Programmes in Wales Alun Davies said it was a “matter of great public concern”.

He added: “I spoke with the Defra Secretary of State Owen Paterson MP on 12 February 2013 and we agreed we would work in close collaboration to support the investigation being led by the FSA and the police.

“I have also spoken with Hybu Cig Cymru (Meat Promotion Wales) and other stakeholders in the Welsh red meat supply chain. I spoke to Defra Minister of State David Heath on 13 February 2013 in a teleconference with major UK retailers and processors to discuss a range of matters in dealing with the continuing issues with reference to horsemeat in beef products. Since then, I have maintained close liaison and I have spoken to the Defra Secretary of State Owen Paterson MP and other food ministers in the UK, this morning [15 February].”

Meanwhile, Paterson is to hold further meetings later today with retailers and trade associations in a bid to look at ways of restoring consumer confidence in the sector.

The BBC reports that a survey by Consumer Intelligence revealed that nearly a quarter of adults said they would buy less processed meat, while 21% said they would buy less meat generally, and further 62% said they were more likely to shop at independent retailers.