Meat plant owner among three held
The owner of a meat processing plant has been arrested along with two other men by officers investigating the horse meat scandal.
Dafydd Raw-Rees, 64, the owner of Farmbox Meats near Aberystwyth, was arrested on suspicion of offences under the Fraud Act, sources said, along with a 42-year-old man. A 63-year-old man was also arrested on suspicion of the same offence at Peter Boddy Slaughterhouse in Todmorden, West Yorkshire.
Both plants were inspected on Tuesday by the Food Standards Agency (FSA). On Wednesday owner Mr Boddy, 63, said he had done nothing wrong and insisted the FSA inspection was merely to look at his records, but he was unavailable for comment on Thursday night.
A Dyfed-Powys Police spokesman said: "Dyfed-Powys Police have today made arrests at both meat plants inspected by the Food Standards Agency on Tuesday.
"At Farmbox Meats near Aberystwyth, Dyfed-Powys Police have arrested two men aged 64 years and 42 years, and in a simultaneous operation police arrested a man aged 63 at the Peter Boddy Slaughterhouse in Todmorden, West Yorkshire. Approvals for both operations were suspended yesterday by the FSA so neither firm was operational.
"Dyfed-Powys Police can confirm the three people have been arrested on suspicion of offences under the Fraud Act and they are being detained at Aberystwyth Police Station where they will be interviewed jointly by police and FSA staff in what has this afternoon become a joint operation."
The two plants became the first UK suppliers suspected of passing off horse meat for beef. Production at both plants was suspended pending the outcome of investigations into claims they supplied and used horse carcasses in meat products purporting to be beef for burgers and kebabs.
The FSA said on Tuesday it had "detained" all meat found at the premises and seized paperwork and customer lists from the two companies. The arrests were made as Asda withdrew its 500g beef bolognese sauce from shelves after tests revealed the presence of horse DNA, the supermarket chain said on Thursday night.
The company apologised to customers and said it was taking a "belt-and-braces approach" by removing a further three beef products made by the same supplier, the Greencore plant in Bristol, as a precaution.
Greencore said: "Greencore is committed to maintaining the highest standards of food safety and food traceability, and is therefore extremely concerned that the quality of one of its products may have been compromised in this way. The company is participating in full with the intensive industry testing programme to examine the full supply chain in order to restore consumer confidence."