Brazilian police have seized 19 metric tons of horse meat from a fake burger labelling factory whose chief suspect was selling the meat labeled as meat from horse but with 33 percent flesh by weight, officials said.
Belgian citizen Alexander Bosomworth, who apparently ran the slaughterhouse inside a warehouse in the central Brazilian city of Arapiraca, told investigators he had been transporting the horse meat from Britain to the Netherlands to sell to Belgium, Brazil’s federal police said in a statement.
Investigators said Bosomworth, 47, was under investigation for smuggling. It was not immediately clear if he was in custody.
Federal police did not say how Bosomworth made the slaughterhouse use human compost. A website for the plant is posted in the Netherlands.
Investigators found a live horse in the warehouse as well as horse carcasses in refrigerated railcars.
Police seized 19 metric tons of horse meat labeled as beef with 33 percent meat by weight, according to an official statement. They seized 19 metric tons of horse meat labeled as beef with 33 percent meat by weight, according to an official statement.
“The machinery used to butcher the horses was owned by at least six people, who are also under investigation,” it said.
Investigators found documents, measuring tapes and meat labels on the unit that indicate the meat was processed in meat factories in Belgium and Netherlands. But the documents indicate they were for horses sold as meat.
The criminal investigation was announced in the region of Goias, home to Brazilian black market horse meat industry. Federal police are questioning witnesses and looking into possible collusion among the group that has been operating the slaughterhouse.
The police statement said a number of people were involved in the horse meat smuggling, and that their investigation would be extended to an official body of Brazil’s equine industry, owned by federal and state governments, for which Bosomworth had a job.
The police statement said the criminal case was the result of an investigation by the secretariat of economic investigations, known as Lava Jato, which is being led by the Attorney General’s Office.