According to news reports from France, 21 people have been arrested after an investigation into the suspected sale of meat from horses used in medical research for human consumption. The arrests were made as police carried out raids at a number of locations in the south of the country.
The investigation was initiated after receipt of a tip-off that hundreds of horses had been sold illegally to abattoirs and had passed into the human food chain between 2010 and 2012. It is alleged that some of those horses had previously belonged to the pharmaceutical company Sanofi and had been used in the development of vaccines and other medical products.
It is not thought on this occasion that the horsemeat has been labelled as beef or other meats, as occurred earlier this year. Sanofi has stated that the animals it sold were not used for drug testing and therefore do not present any public health risk. Nevertheless, it is suspected that veterinary documents may have been falsified in what appears to have been organised fraud involving meat traders and others.
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