Tonight's investigation by Channel 4's flagship current affairs strand Dispatches has uncovered that one of the key people embroiled in the horse meat scandal and who is now under investigation by the Food Standards Agency has a long history of wrongdoing - first exposed by Dispatches nine years ago.
In Dispatches: Dirty Meat Trade, broadcast in 2004, this meat trader (who cannot be identified for legal reasons) sold products to an undercover reporter on three separate occasions - which a meat inspector, Paul Povey, deemed unfit for consumption. After examining the meat Paul Povey identified tape worm parasites and an abscess full of pus - he concluded meat from legitimate sources was being mixed with illegally sourced carcasses.
The same meat trader also admitted dealing with ‘smokies', whole sheep blowtorched to give a barbecue flavour, but completely illegal because of the health risks. He ran a butcher's shop where conditions were described as shockingly unhygienic. Yet he continued to make money out of the meat trade and is now under investigation by the authorities.
Paul Povey, who worked on the original Dispatches investigation says: "We found this individual selling dodgy meat ten years ago so I'm amazed he's still involved in the meat trade. He said he's legitimately selling horsemeat but I'd have my serious doubts. He's known to enforcement officers so clearly you would have thought they would have kept a very watchful eye on his activities."
Tonight's investigation, Dispatches: The Horse Meat Scandal investigates how Britain's meat supplies became so contaminated with unauthorised horse meat, who is to blame, and the potential consequences for the nation's health and eating habits. It airs at 8pm on Channel 4.
Notes to Editors:
Transcript of Paul Povey's verdict on the meat he examined in 2004:
"We have got a piece of liver stuck inside, and I don't know whether you can see but we have got these little white gritty spots here. Evidence of parasites. Tape worm parasites.
That abscess is full of pus, it's an infection. Carcasses with abscesses or any of this evidence of disease should not be allowed out of a slaughterhouse.'
I think you have got somebody here who is trying to mix carcasses from an illegal source with carcasses possibly from a legitimate source."