Peter Boddy could be imprisoned for two years after admitting one count of failing to abide by the EU’s meat traceability regulations in relation to more than 17 horse carcasses at London’s Southwark crown court ON January 28.
His West Yorkshire site was raided by police and officials in February 2013 – weeks after horsemeat was first discovered in Tesco beef burgers – along with Farmbox Meats Limited in Aberystwyth.
Boddy had also admitted to breaching food traceability regulations that state that meat should be traceable from farm to fork in a previous hearing.
He also admitted to selling 50 horses for meat, but failing to keep proper records to show who bought them, according to a Press Association report yesterday.
Prosecutors were concerned about the eventual whereabouts of the meat, but said there was no suggestion that the buyers didn’t know they were purchasing horsemeat, it added.
Forging an invoice
David Moss, the site’s manager, admitted to forging an invoice that contained details about the number of horses sold in a transaction in February 2013.
However, Moss denied he had failed to comply with food traceability regulations.
The charge was left to lie on file, as well as a charge for failing to comply with EU meat traceability regulations, said the Press Association.
Boddy and Moss will be sentenced on March 23 at London’s Southwark crown court.
A Food Standards Agency (FSA) spokeswoman said: “The FSA welcomes the guilty plea made by Peter Boddy at Southwark crown court yesterday.
“This case has highlighted the importance of food businesses abiding by food traceability rules which are there to protect both the consumer and the business.”
At the time of the raids on Farmbox and Peter Boddy, Andrew Rhodes, FSA director of operations, said: “I have suspended both plants immediately, so they can no longer supply food on to the market, while our investigations continue.”
‘Blatant misleading of consumers’
He added: “I ordered an audit on all horse producing abattoirs in the UK after this issue first arose last month and was shocked to uncover what appears to be a blatant misleading of consumers.”
It is believed Farmbox Meats Limited has since gone into administration.
The horsemeat scandal led to the development of a new Food Crime Unit (FCU), as suggested by Professor Chris Elliott in his report on the handling of the crisis.
According to the FSA, the FCU was now set up and bosses were assessing leads and areas of interest.
Other proposals in Elliott’s report included the creation of an FSA crisis management plan and improved collaboration between the FSA, the Department of Health and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.