Horsemeat raid plant closed over safety fears

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A meat plant which was at the centre of the horsemeat scandal has been forced to close over food safety concerns, the Food Standards Authority said today.

Farmbox Meats Ltd, in Llandre, near Aberystwyth, mid Wales, was one of the first two plants – the other in West Yorkshire – to be raided in the UK after suspicions it was passing off horsemeat in products advertised as beef. The factory was closed and its owner arrested in February, but it was allowed to re-open, with conditional approval to operate until the start of April.

But a spokesman for the Food Standards Agency (FSA) today said: “The FSA today informed Farmbox Meats Ltd of its decision to refuse the business approval to operate as a cutting plant and cold store facility.

“The business is entitled to appeal this decision, therefore the FSA cannot provide further details at this stage.”

Dafydd Raw-Rees, 64, the plant’s owner, said he planned to appeal against the decision, and threatened to take legal action against the FSA. “They have made a big mistake taking on Farmbox Meats,” he said. “We have been unfairly treated.”

The FSA warned Farmbox Meats when it was re-opened in March that it would not hesitate to withdraw approval if the business did not comply with all of the agency’s requirements.

The FSA raided both Farmbox Meats and Peter Boddy slaughterhouse in Todmorden in West Yorkshire on February 12 of this year.

Mr Raw-Rees and a 42-year-old man were arrested on suspicion of offences under the Fraud Act.