The FSA and police have raided two UK meat plants and suspended operations after a paper trail raised concerns that horse meat may have been supplied as beef.

The FSA entered Peter Boddy Licensed Slaughterhouse in Todmorden, West Yorkshire, which it believes supplied horse carcases to Farmbox Meats in Llandre, Aberystwyth.

The FSA said it was, together with the police, looking into the circumstances through which meat products, purporting to be beef for kebabs and burgers, were sold when they were in fact horse. 

The FSA has suspended operations and detained all meat found, and seized paperwork, including customer lists from both companies. An FSA spokesman confirmed that the raid was the result of a paper trail started in Yorkshire and not the result of any testing. “We don’t have a very full picture yet,” he added.

 “I was shocked to uncover what appears to be a blatant misleading of consumers. I have suspended both plants immediately while our investigations continue,” said Andrew Rhodes, FSA director of operations. 

The news was “absolutely shocking,” added Environment Secretary Owen Paterson. “It’s totally unacceptable if any business in the UK is defrauding the public by passing off horsemeat as beef.” He expected the full force of the law to be brought down on anyone involved in that kind of activity, he added.

West Yorkshire and Dyfed-Powys police entered the premises with the FSA earlier today. Farmbox has denied any wrongoing.