Leeds & West Yorkshire

Horsemeat scandal: Slaughterhouse boss fined over records

Peter Boddy Image copyright Justin Tallis/PA wire
Image caption Peter Boddy admitted failing to abide by meat traceability regulations

A slaughterhouse owner has been fined £8,000, plus legal costs, in the first prosecution for criminal charges relating to the 2013 horsemeat scandal.

Peter Boddy, 65, admitted selling 55 horses from his abattoir, in Todmorden, West Yorkshire, and accepting 17 animals without keeping proper records.

He told Southwark Crown Court some of the meat went to Italian restaurants.

Boddy was also ordered to pay more than £10,442 in costs after admitting breaching EU regulations.

Slaughterhouse manager David Moss was given a four-month suspended sentence for forging an invoice relating to the sale of horses in February 2013.

Sentencing the pair, Judge Alistair McCreath said: "The traceability of food products, here meat, is of critical importance in relation to public health.

"If meat causes ill health then it is important that those responsible for investigating the cause of it should quickly be able to discover where the meat came from and trace it backwards... to find where the problem lies and prevent the problem escalating."

Adam Payter, prosecuting, said it was a requirement for slaughterhouses to keep a record of where they bought their meat and where they sold it.

Boddy's failure was uncovered during a Food Standards Agency (FSA) investigation into abattoirs known to slaughter horses.

Mr Payter said that in early 2013 the FSA asked Boddy, of East Hey Head Farm, Todmorden for documents in relation to the traceability of horse carcasses at the business during 2012.

Initial documents, provided by Moss, of Higher Moss, West Yorkshire, were considered "inadequate" and did not show where a number of horses had gone or where they had come from.

However, on that occasion Moss - who the prosecution say was acting as manager on the day - conceded that some of the horsemeat had been sold "cash in hand".

The FSA then asked for delivery notes or invoices and a few days later Moss provided a forged invoice.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Poor record keeping at Boddy's slaughterhouse in Todmorden was uncovered by the Food Standards Agency

Mr Payter said: "The prosecution say that in relation to horses that were slaughtered on the site, there were FSA records for those; in relation to other horses that were not in the FSA records - there were not proper records for those horses.

"It can't be said where they were slaughtered, when they were slaughtered, whether it was on site - but horsemeat passed through Peter Boddy's slaughterhouse without being properly documented."

He added that although the prosecution could not say whether the meat had ended up in the human food chain, "there would be no cause to cover up the provenance or destination of horsemeat unless there was something underlying wrong with that horsemeat".

Christopher James, defending Boddy, said his client had been "reckless", but that his failings were not deliberate and the meat had only ever been offered as horsemeat.

He added: "There is little or no risk to the public health from the failings that had been established there."

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