Brazilian gang that sold horse meat under labels as beef may have been involved in more organized transactions

The Brazilian news outlet Globo reported that the criminal gang responsible for the sale of three tons of horse meat to unsuspecting consumers may be engaged in more organized activities. According to Globo, this criminal group have also bilked a business of nearly $65,000 in merchandise, including machine parts and bags, and would not have been able to survive a sales rep’s report about the food. Each of the meat products sold in the shop were falsely labeled as beef when they were actually horse meat. The group is only the most recent in a number of criminal organizations to peddle fake meat to unwitting consumers. According to Brazilian officials, the country has become a home for fraud and counterfeit food.

The meat sells for around $3.50 per pound, and is labeled as “burritos,” “conchos,” “crispy corn,” and “grilled chicken strips.” The horse meat sold at the legitimate retail stores was processed in hidden locations in the northeastern state of Ceara. Officials believe that the meat is being transported between Ceara, the northern coastal state of Pernambuco, and the northeastern state of Bahia. Authorities revealed that the criminal gang was able to obtain the horse meat from healthy freezers and inject horse DNA into the meat. It is unclear how they procure the horse meat, but there have been rumors of a draft horse sale in Bahia for decades.

“It is a question of how much funding and how many canaries the authorities have to rely on in order to get to this people, this criminal organization,” a spokesman from the state security authorities told Globo.

Read the full story at The Daily Beast.


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