PARIS: The price, smell and color should have been clear tipoffs something was wrong with shipments of horsemeat that were fraudulently labeled as beef, French authorities said yesterday.
The government pinned the bulk of the blame on a French wholesaler at the heart of a growing scandal in Europe.
Police in the U.K., meanwhile, announced the arrests yesterday of three men on suspicion of fraud at two meat plants inspected earlier this week by the country’s Food Standards Agency.
The two separate developments were part of an escalating scare that has raised questions about food controls in the European Union – and highlighted how little consumers know about the complex trading operations that get food from producers to wholesalers to processers to stores and onto their dinner table.
Europol, the European Union police agency, is coordinating a broad continent-wide fraud investigation amid allegations of an international criminal conspiracy to substitute horse for more expensive beef.