PARIS — Meat from horses used in laboratory procedures was sold as fit for human consumption and landed on French dinner tables, investigators said Monday.
Officers from France's National Gendarmerie, accompanied by food safety and veterinary investigators, carried out raids in 11 regions in southern France before dawn, arresting 21 people, according to a statement.
An official, speaking on condition of anonymity because details had not yet been released, said the animals had been used in laboratories, including that of drugmaker Sanofi-Pasteur, and then, instead of being destroyed, ended up in the food chain.
Sanofi told Le Parisien newspaper Monday that the horses were used to create antibodies against rabies and tetanus among others. The company, which said it cooperated in the investigation, said it has resold about 200 horses in the past three years to vet schools, individuals and professionals.
The company said the lab uses horses for about three years before re-selling them, tagged and certified.