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Boss fined over horsemeat charges

A slaughterhouse boss has become the first person to be sentenced in connection with the horsemeat scandal which rocked British supermarkets in 2013.

Peter Boddy, 65, was fined £8,000 after admitting one count of failing to abide by EU meat traceability regulations.

Boddy, who runs a slaughterhouse in Todmorden, West Yorkshire, also pleaded guilty to failing to comply with food traceability regulations which state the source of meat should be traceable from field to fork.

He sold 55 carcasses without keeping any record of where they were going, 37 of which he claimed went to Italian restaurants.

A further 17 animals entered his business without documents showing where they had come from.

Boddy was sentenced at London's Southwark Crown Court alongside the slaughterhouse manager David Moss, who was sentenced after admitting forging an invoice concerning the number of horses sold in a transaction on February 12 2013.

Moss was sentenced to four months imprisonment, suspended for two years.

Sentencing them, Judge Alistair McCreath said: "The traceability of food products, here meat, is of critical importance in relation to public health. If meat causes ill health then it is important that those responsible for investigating the cause of it should quickly be able to discover where the meat came from and trace it backwards and backwards and backwards to find where the problem lies and prevent the problem escalating."

Neither man showed any reaction as they were sentenced.

Judge McCreath said that it was important to recognise that the men were not being sentenced for being complicit in the supply of horsemeat into the human food chain.

He said: "It is impossible to avoid a suspicion, even a strong one, that behind the activities disclosed by this investigation was some degree of complicity, together with others - those who sold the live horses to the abattoir, and those who received the horsemeat thereafter - in putting into the human food chain, under the guise of some other meat, what was in fact horsemeat.

"And there are substantial grounds to justify that suspicion. But, and I make no criticism at all of the prosecution...because the prosecution for proper reasons take the view that whilst there might be that suspicion, it is insufficient to found a proper evidential basis for a finding of the kind that I have described."

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