21 arrested in French raids on horse meat traffic

21 arrested in mass raids on horse meat trafficking in southern France

Associated Press
Horse meat consumption

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A waitress at 'Restaurant Gorm' in Copenhagen, Denmark presents the restaurant's pizza with horse meat Thursday March 7. 2013. The pizza can be purchased from the menu for euro10.50, US$13.75 .There is a sign outside the restaurant that says, "Are you ready for a scandal - then Gorm's Pizza with horse is a good finale." (AP Photo/Polfoto/Jens Dresling)

PARIS (AP) -- French law enforcement officials say 21 people have been arrested in raids across the south of France targeting the trafficking of horse meat that was used in laboratory procedures and wasn't fit for human consumption.

More than 100 officers from the National Gendarmerie fanned out in 11 regions before dawn Monday, according to a statement. An official speaking on condition of anonymity because details had not yet been released said meat from animals used by drugmaker Sanofi-Pasteur was among the material involved, though the lab's role was unclear.

Government minister Benoit Hamon told RTL radio that it was a question of food safety, rather than simple fraud.

"These were horses that should have ended up at the knacker, and instead they ended up at the butcher," he said.

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