21 arrested in French raids on horse meat traffic

Lori Hinnant, Associated Press
Associated Press
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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.