Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority searches business in investigation into false horse passports
25 april 2015 - Functioneel Parket
In a criminal investigation into forgery of horse passports and the use of forged horse passports, the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority Intelligence and Investigation Service (NVWA-IOD), in cooperation with other investigative services, have searched a business in the province Limburg. The NVWA-IOD have seized administration as well as a house, vehicles and bank accounts, because crime does not pay.
A horse must be microchipped and have a matching horse passport. The passport must contain a medication declaration to indicate whether the horse is suitable for human consumption. Horses that have been treated with veterinary medicinal products are usually unsuitable for human consumption. A microchip and passport allow the identity and history of a horse to be known at all times and prevent that (remnants of) veterinary medicinal products end up in the human food chain.
The business and owner are suspected of forgery of documents and the trade in and transport of dozens of horses without valid passports, in violation of regulations. The suspicion is that the owner of the business bought horses that are unsuitable for human consumption on markets. The suspect would then adjust the passports in such a way that on paper the horses appeared to be suitable for human consumption. The animals would then be exported and sold.
Undermining confidence in food
Forging horse passports and trading horses with forged horse passports is serious, because it may constitute a danger to food safety. In addition, such trading distorts competition. A horse that is suitable for human consumption fetches more money than a horse that is not.
Request for mutual legal assistance
In addition to the searches in this investigation, the NVWA-IOD also provided legal assistance in an investigation into horses that were unsuitable for human consumption but ended up in the food chain nonetheless, which investigation was conducted by the French authorities and coordinated by Eurojust.
In the context of the legal assistance, the NVWA searched a total of 15 locations throughout the Netherlands. Three suspects were arrested. The French authorities have sought their surrender. In the actions, a total of 77 NVWA-IOD investigators and 23 supervisory division inspectors were deployed.