Horse meat fraud trader claims administrative error

Meat trader Willy Selten stood in front of the court in Den Bosch once more on Tuesday morning pleading his innocence, and saying that horse meat entering the beef supply chain was a simple administrative failure, according to Hart van Nederland. The prosecutor accused Selten of intentionally mixing horse meat and beef and selling it as pure beef, and called for a five-year prison sentence.

"By these acts, he has grossly violated the consumer's trust confidence in the safety and quality of meat," the prosecutor said in a statement.

Selten claimed that the cold store placed inaccurate labels on the products, and that his company would never do that deliberately. He agreed that such issue was easy to resolve, but claimed that he never noticed the problem in the first place. “It was automated," he said. Selten previously suggested that the mix-up could happen because the meats were stored under the same number.

The prosecutor countered this, saying that horse meat was never mentioned in any of the paperwork at any step of the way. "From purchase invoice to weigh list, delivery notes, order forms, entry in the administration, weighing stickers, rash vouchers and sales invoice," the prosecutor said, alleging these were intentional acts.

He allegedly sold 300,000 kilograms of horse meat over 2011 and 2012, in an effort to save his company from bankruptcy.