Blog: Horsemeat finger points to Dutch meat trader
Michelle Russell | 14 February 2013
The ongoing horsemeat saga that has resulted in supermarkets panning Europe recalling frozen meat products has settled in the Netherlands today, with the finger pointing to a Dutch meat trader.
Jan Fasen, a director of Draap Trading, told the Guardian this week that he bought a consignment of horsemeat from two Romanian abattoirs Doly-Com and CarmOlimp, which are known to have sold horse cuttings that eventually ended up in Europe's food chain.
It is thought Draap acted as "middle man" between the Romanian slaughterhouses and France where one of Draap's customers is French firm Spanghero. This company in turn supplied to French company Comigel, one of the companies at the centre of the saga. Comigel was the supplier of Findus frozen products recalled in recent days across Europe because they contain horsemeat.
Fasen has insisted he clearly labelled the product as horsemeat, but despite his denials, the food trader appears to now be at the centre of investigations into how horsemeat entered the European food chain.
According to the Guardian, in January last year he received a one-year jail term after allegedly falsifying papers to deceive customers.
Romania has been insistent that the two slaughterhouses under scrutiny have not broken EU food rules. Fasen, who bought the Romanian horsemeat and stored it in Breda in the Netherlands is understood to have said he will "hand over all his information" to the Cypriot authorities, who will then pass it on to the French. It is understood Dutch food inspectors went to the Breda warehouse on Wednesday.
Fasen told the Guardian the meat was all labelled correctly, whether it was 100% beef or 100% horsemeat.
"I was 100% sure I was buying horse. We sold it to Spanghero in France as well as to clients in Belgium and Holland. It was all sold as horse. There is no issue," he told the publicatio. "Somebody made a mistake and it was definitely not us."
If investigations find Fasen to have been deliberately passing off horse meat as beef, he could provide the missing link in what has become an extremely complex chain.
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