First jail sentence related to horsemeat scandal

By Georgi Gyton contact

- Last updated on GMT

It was found that the large volumes of horsemeat were purchased and processed by Selten’s companies
It was found that the large volumes of horsemeat were purchased and processed by Selten’s companies

Related tags: United kingdom, Beef

Dutch meat trader Willy Selten has been sentenced to 30 months in prison following his part in the 2013 horsemeat scandal.

A court in East Brabant, in the Netherlands, yesterday (7 April), found Selten guilty of falsifying documents, including delivery notes and invoices, and using these fake documents for the trade of meat products, according to the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA).

It is the first custodial sentence to be awarded to anyone related to the scandal, however others, such as UK abattoir boss Peter Boddy have been prosecuted.

Selten was the director of two companies engaged in the purchasing, deboning, cutting and marketing of beef, which were found to have supplied meat marketed as ‘pure beef’ to companies in the UK and Ireland, which in fact contained horse DNA.

Investigations by the NVWA, following the discovery of equine DNA in burgers in the UK and Ireland in early 2013, resulted in the recall of around 50,000 tonnes (t) of beef from across Europe. As part of this, 167 samples were taken from supplies by Selten’s companies in February 2013, with 35 testing positive for horse DNA.

He argued that the falsified documents were actually unintentional inaccuracies and errors related to the administration of the business, however the court dismissed these claims.

It was found that the large volumes of horsemeat were purchased and processed by Selten’s companies – around 336t between 2011 and 2012, but there were no records to show that any horsemeat was processed at the site, according to Dutch judicial website rechtspraak.nl​.

In determining the sentence, the court took into account the level at which Selten’s customers, and ultimately the consumer, were misled. His activity resulted in the reputation of his customers being damaged, and he had contributed to a negative image of the Dutch meat industry, said the court, acting solely for profit.

The trader has also been declared bankrupt and is reportedly facing damages claims of €11 million.

Related topics: Meat

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