STA, 6 February 2019 - Food Safety Administration inspectors have cracked down on an illegal operation in the north-west of the country where sport horses were slaughtered and their meat processed for human consumption.
During the inspection, carried out on Friday night at an address in Kamna Gorica, one slaughtered animal and one alive as well as a large amount of cured meat products were discovered.
"Both were harness horses, sport horses for which a ban is in place on slaughtering and using the meat for human consumption," the Administration for Food Safety, Veterinary Sector and Plant Protection said on Wednesday.
According to its press release, the inspectors posing as customers proved that the operation served for further sale of meat.
The inspection was based on inquiries that had been conducted for a while. The inspectors also found equipment for the production of cured meats.
The two horses found at the site are believed to have been brought there the same day from the Dolenjska region in the south-east of the country without proper paperwork or identification.
The meat products and meat have been destroyed, while the horse that was still alive was put down. An offence procedure has been launched against one individual while the investigation continues to establish the animals' origin.
Inspectorate director Andreja Bizjak told the STA that the facility was illegal and was not registered as an abattoir, but had been operating for quite while.
Samples of the meat products found there have been taken to establish whether the activity was merely illegal or did it jeopardise people's health because the meat could have contained residues of illegal substances. "We are in particular concerned about hormones and other performance enhancers," Bizjak said.
The inspectorate is rarely tipped off in such cases so it is looking for information itself. "We read forums, watch out the web and oral information. These may produce the results as today or they don't."
The Food Safety Administration works on the case in cooperation with the National Public Health Institute, which said it would notify the public as required as soon as sample tests come back.