Romania Detains Rotten Meat Traffickers
Romanian prosecutors on Thursday detained 10 people on suspicion of tax evasion and money laundering, by trafficking meat and animal products not fit for human consumption.
The suspects allegedly sold expired food, or meat mixed with other products in abattoirs, and then sold on the black market.
One of the group’s methods involved purchasing goods from the EU and recording fake deliveries to “ghost” companies from other EU states, mainly Bulgaria, Hungary and Cyprus, so as not charge the Romanian companies for VAT payment.
However, the goods were in fact sold on the Romanian market without being officially recorded in the company books.
The estimated damage in the case amounts to 15 million euro, according to prosecutors.
Almost 230 tons of meat and meat products have already been withdrawn from shelves following checks by the National Authority for Consumer Protection, ANPC.
"The meat had not been sold in major supermarket chains and, till now, there are no reports of people getting sick,” the ANPC boss, Vladimir Manastireanu, said.
The trafficking cases were uncovered following investigations by the Romanian Intelligence Agency, SRI.
"We were checking the activity of the suspected trafficking rings for more than one year as their activity was a clear threat for national security,” the SRI spokeperson, Sorin Sava, said.
Romania is taking a very careful approach to tests of meat in the country following last year's horsemeat scandal.
In early 2013 Romania was named as one of the sources of wrongly packaged meat, sold off as beef products in France and Britain, by the food giant, Findus.
Later investigations revealed that Romanian abattoirs had openly sold the meat as horsemeat...