Belgium at the forefront of the fight against illegal horse meat.
About 20% of foreign passports used for slaughter horses checked in a few countries show indications of forgery, the Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (Afsca) said on Thursday. The latter participated, together with the Netherlands, in a Europol-powered task to combat illicit pony meat. Living creatures and more than 17 tonnes of meat were seized from a few European slaughterhouses.
The activity verified the archives of more than 157,000 horses from 8 nations and around 117 tonnes of horse meat, says Afsca. In Belgium, 88% of the 308 IDs and international horses studied were all together. Twenty-eight passports were recognized, 13 of which were for bogus people, mostly for the purpose of putting illegal animals in the natural pecking order. These horses were in this way ready to obtain forbidden restorative medicines for the animals which will be spent. The activity also checked 86 horses without an international identity card and originating from a few European countries, using their electronic chip. Thirteen files were opened and 12 welfare seizures made. A truck used to move horses with distinctive evidence produced was seized. As the reviews are still ongoing, Afsca and Europol have finished giving details for the occasion. Routine checks after this activity showed that 98% of the 5,584 horses checked at the slaughterhouse in 2019 were compliant. The controls imposed on slaughterhouses in Belgium, "among the strictest in Europe", have enabled Belgium to extraordinarily reduce the danger of extortion of horses recognized and enlisted in the country, invites Afsca. The task unfolded in the structure of the ninth version of Oppson, an annual activity composed by Europol and Interpol to fight the bogus and rebellious food supply. The Opson activity, which included 83 countries, destroyed 19 organized crime gangs engaged in food fraud and arrested 406 suspects. Almost 12,000 tonnes of illegal and potentially risky items were seized, worth around 28 million euros. Animal feed is the most popular product, with more than 5,000 tonnes. Mixed drinks (over 2000 tonnes), oats, cereals and suspected products, espresso, tea and sauces follow. Huge quantities of saffron were also seized: 90 kilos in Spain and 7 in Belgium, for an expected estimate of more than 306,000 euros. American specialists also preserved 147 kilograms of raw apricot seeds sold as a remedy for malignancy.