Animal protein plant raided in Brazil over horse meat theft

Brazilian authorities have arrested five people and seized tons of horse meat that had been sold as beef in clandestine operations over the past two years.

According to court documents obtained by AFP, horse meat had been seized from butcher shops in Sao Paulo and Porto Alegre, in southwestern Brazil, that had reportedly sold more than 4,000 tons of horse meat since last February, impersonating beef.

The Sao Paulo branch of ANTES, Brazil’s national meat inspection agency, said in a statement Thursday that it had uncovered fraudulent products from 11 suppliers that were detected during an inspection of a Westend Meat And Pasta factory. Officials have said that they believe the origin of the horse meat is China, where it is popular as a vegetable-based high-protein substitute for meat.

The South American country has been grappling with an outbreak of the MERS coronavirus — a virus that causes fever, feverish illness and — in extreme cases — death — since May. Several of the cases have been linked to horseback travel to the Gulf of Mexico. This is the first animal trade case authorities have identified following the outbreak.

Read the full story at the New York Times.


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