18 December 2013 15:23

Public Health Services were on full alert on Tuesday in the wake of a new case said to be related to the horsemeat scandal in Europe after 21 arrests by the French authorities in Narbonne, Southern France.
They are probing a case of alleged illegal trading of horsemeat that had been used in scientific research by pharmaceutical companies, workshops and horse riding centres.
Acting director Christos Christou told The Cyprus Daily information on the problem is expected from Europe's Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF).
"We are in close contact on a 24-hour basis with the European Commission and its RASFF so that we can have all information related to the scandal. So far, we have no information that the horsemeat was illegally exported to any other member state including Cyprus," Christou said.
"From information we have in our hands until now it is not known whether the horsemeat that was initially used in scientific research has ended up on the market, in fridges, in pre-packed food or whether it has been consumed," he added.
Christou explained that ongoing investigations since the horsemeat scandal in February brought this new case to light in which a pharmaceutical company is allegedly involved.
According to The Guardian, people arrested included veterinarians, butchers and other meat industry workers in what was described by French investigators as a vast operation across the south of France.
The claims were that horses used in medical research were illegally sold for human consumption.
"The animals were bought from a research laboratory belonging to the French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi and were supposed to have been destroyed, but instead they were allegedly issued with false certificates and sold to abattoirs between 2010-2012," the paper said.


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