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'Complicated chain' over horsemeat

The Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson, is going to Brussels today to meet other European ministers to discuss the growing scandal of horse meat being passed off as beef.

Experts from the Food Standards Agency are examining meat - and paperwork - seized yesterday from a slaughterhouse in West Yorkshire and a processing plant in West Wales which, it alleged, were implicated; both have denied any wrongdoing.

Andrew Rhodes, director of operations at the Food Standards Agency, told Today presenter Justin Webb that "we need to find out exactly what the circumstances are, who has done what and that's why we have also involved the police."

Defending level of testing that food manufacturing that the FSA carry out Mr Rhodes explained that "all abattoirs in this country have a pertinent presence from the Food Standards Agency."

"What we found in Wales yesterday is a result of enforcement activity that we were following up," he said

Talking about the supply chain from Europe he said "there is a complicated chain involved here, and that is why we are working with authorities across Europe".

"The full facts are not in" he insisted, explaining that it is wrong to start blaming other European countries with out proper evidence.

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4's Today Programme on Wednesday 13 February 2013.

  • 13 Feb 2013
  • From the section UK