Eight former managers of Spanghero, the French company caught up in the horsemeat scandal earlier this year, have been arrested.

They are expected to face charges of non-disclosure, deceit and the forgery and falsification of documents.

Police said they had been taken in to custody to face questioning from investigators specialised in violations of public health and environmental regulations.

The arrests follow a judical enquiry into Spanghero's activtities amid suspicions of aggravated fraud and mislabelling of products.

From the outset of the scandal, the French government pointed the finger firmly at Spanghero for passing off horsemeat as beef which was subsequently sold
in several European countries. Spanghero's management has consistently denied any wrong-doing.

The company's business nosedived as a result of the scandal. It was acquired by its founder in July and renamed La Lauragaise, employing 90 staff compared to 230 previously.