Three members of the family who own the meat company allegedly behind the massive listeriosis outbreak in Spain have been arrested on suspicion of reckless homicide.
More than 200 people, including one British tourist, were infected with listeriosis in southern Spain this summer and three people died from the infection along with seven abortions being caused.
Investigators believe meat produced by the Magrudis SL company was to blame for the outbreak and local authorities have now confirmed they have arrested Jose Antonio Marin Ponce, who is considered the real owner of the company, his eldest son Sandro Marin, who is registered as the administrator and the only shareholder in the commercial register and an unnamed a younger son.
Another relative and a salesman, whose names have not been disclosed, were also arrested and the five detained are accused, in different degrees of participation, of the crimes of reckless homicide, crimes against public health and injuries to a foetus.
Investigators suspect the detainees had known since February that some of their products were contaminated but they did nothing to eliminate the source of listeriosis from the facilities and continued to manufacture and distribute the products.
The British citizen affected after he allegedly ate meat produced by the La Mecha brand commercialised by Magrudis SL in the city of Seville while he was on holiday in August.
Reports state the laboratory Grupo Microal filed a report to local authorities in the second week of September which allegedly revealed some of the meat products of Magrudis SL were contaminated.
The owner of the laboratory Jose Antonio Borras told local reporters: “When the crisis started, we reminded the company by email that one of its products had already appeared contaminated much earlier. As they did nothing, we brought it to justice.”
According to local authorities, Pilar Ordonez activated the operation yesterday after consumer rights groups Facua and Defensor del Paciente filed complaints from people who ate the meat in December 2018 and in the first quarter of 2019.
Investigators now want to clarify why the owners of Magrudis allegedly did not adopt the planned measures and, in addition, reportedly hid the laboratory reports from the inspectors who visited the facilities of the company after the crisis. The Marin family are now under police custody, according to reports.
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Story By: Jonathan Macias, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
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