The Dutch trader accused of contaminating beef with horse meat should be jailed for five years, the public prosecution department said on the opening day of his trial in Den Bosch. Willy Selten is accused of mixing over 300,000 kilos of horse into products which were labelled as pure beef. His company was at the centre of the horse meat scandal which hit the European food sector two years ago.
Selten is charged with selling horse to meat processing firms which had ordered beef and false accounting. In one case he supplied horse to a snack food maker in Oss even though beef had been ordered. Selten admits making mistakes but denies that he deliberately committed fraud, using horse meat in order to earn more money. The public prosecution department claims Selten was a ‘master of deception’. ‘He misled everyone – his personnel, the regulator and the consumer,’ public prosecutor Ingeborg Koopmans told the court. ‘He abused the trust of consumers and damaged the reputation of the Dutch meat industry.’ The contamination of beef products with horse led to Europe-wide recalls of meat products.