Court orders more transparency in horse meat fraud investigation

The court in Amsterdam ruled on Wednesday that the Ministry of Economic Affairs has to release all information of all parties and products involved in the Willy Selten horse meat scandal of 2013.

This lawsuit was filed by food watchdog Foodwatch. Foodwatch appealed to the Freedom of Information Act and requested this information from the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority, the NVWA.

After a long period of quibbling back and forth, the NVWA released information on some of the products involved in the scandal in November last year. This information included which meat products Selten mixed with horse meat and what steps relevant customers took with respect to the meat.

The Authority refused to reveal the address details of the customers, the contact details of employees, the name of the food, the European product number of the product or Stelten's debtors. According to the Authority, this information could hurt their reputation if, due to a lack of context, they are regarded as the transgressor, rather than the victims they are.

Foodwatch was not happy with this, feeling that consumers had the right to know which products were involved, and turned to court. On Wednesday the court ruled that the information had to be released.

Willy Selten was sentenced to 30 months in prison earlier this year for fraud with horse meat. It was discovered that he sold horse meat as beef.


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