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Met Police waiting on horse meat ‘crime’ evidence

A worker handles meat at the Doly-Com abattoir, one of the two units checked by Romanian authorities in the horse meat scandal. Picture: (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda) A worker handles meat at the Doly-Com abattoir, one of the two units checked by Romanian authorities in the horse meat scandal. Picture: (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013
3:32 PM

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said they will need evidence of criminal activity before starting any investigation into the horse meat food scandal.

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MPs were today debating the issue in a House of Commons debate called by Labour while environment secretary Owen Paterson was today meeting representatives of supermarkets and food suppliers.

Mr Hogan Howe said today: “We’ve talked to the Food Standards Agency and what we’ve asked them to do is to give us any evidence that they’ve got of a crime, and of course we will investigate.

“People have got suspicions, I think the minister said there are two broad options, which is either negligence or criminal conspiracy.

“They are the options, but of course we can’t investigate to see which of the options is true, we just need some information to help us.

“Secondly it sounds like there will be a jurisdictional issue. If there is a crime, is it one that has been committed within the UK, or is it one that has been committed abroad?

“When we’ve established those two things, we will know whether or not we take any further action.

“There has to be some evidence or intelligence at least on which to base an investigation. At the moment there’s clearly suspicion, but not enough yet to start off an investigation.”

Mr Paterson briefed senior colleagues including the Prime Minister at the weekly meeting of Cabinet in 10 Downing Street today.

Tomorrow, he will travel to Brussels to speak to counterparts in EU countries, amid increasing concern that the incorrectly labelled products have entered the human food chain.

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