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Spanish police arrest Dutchman wanted over Europe-wide horsemeat scandal

A Dutchman sentenced to jail in France over a 2013 Europe-wide horsemeat scandal and who is also involved in similar cases elsewhere has been arrested in Spain, police said Wednesday.

Spanish police arrest Dutchman wanted over Europe-wide horsemeat scandal
Photo: AFP

The man, identified as meat trader Jan Fasen, was arrested at the request of French authorities after a court there sentenced him in his absence to two years jail in April.

Fasen was one of four convicted for having deceived a French company when it sold it 500 tonnes of horsemeat presenting it as beef, which is more expensive.

The company sold frozen meals to 28 different companies in 13 European countries.

The revelation of the fraud in 2013 forced supermarkets across Europe to pull millions of suspect food products such as frozen lasagne and meatballs from their shelves.

Officers arrested Fasen in Spain's eastern seaside resort of Calpe near Benidorm on July 23rd.

Detenido de nuevo el gran traficante de la carne ilegal de caballo, que vivía a todo tren en Calpe https://t.co/ypk5F6OrDs

— Juan Vidal (@juvini100) July 31, 2019

The Madrid-based National Court must now decide whether to allow his extradition to France.   

Spanish authorities are already investigating Fasen in a similar affair, uncovered in Spain in 2017, where he allegedly led a gang that sold horsemeat unfit for human consumption across Europe.

He was earlier arrested as part of that case and released on bail pending a trial, the Civil Guard said.

Altogether, 65 people were detained as part of that investigation, including abattoir owners, vets and farmers.

Fasen also has convictions for a similar fraud in 2012 in the Netherlands.

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FOOD & DRINK

Did Spain make Coca-Cola before the US?

Could Kola-Coca, the drink produced in a small Valencian village, have been the inspiration for the world-famous soft drink, Coca-Cola?

Did Spain make Coca-Cola before the US?

Coca-Cola, or coke as it is often referred to, has become one of the most popular drinks around the world since it was invented in 1886 in the United States. It has also become the drink most synonymous with American culture and the secret formula has been patented there too. 

Despite this, in the small town of Aielo de Malferit almost 140 years ago, three partners, Enrique Ortiz, Ricardo Sanz and Bautista Aparici, set up a distillery, which later went on to supply drinks to Queen María Cristina, who was married to King Alfonso XII, and the rest of the royal household. 

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Among the drinks that they created, the most popular by far was the ‘Jarabe Superior de Kola-Coca‘. It was made from kola nuts and coca leaves from Peru, and was dubbed by locals as ‘Heavenly Anise’.

The drink became so successful and popular that in 1885, one of the three founders, Bautista Aparici, travelled to the US to promote it and present the product to consumers in Philadelphia. 

He then returned to Spain, but a year later in 1886 in Atlanta, the pharmacist John Stith Pemberton invented the famous Coca-Cola. Sound familiar?

Whether this was a coincidence or not is open to interpretation, but what is even more interesting, other than the similar name, is that the drink contained basically the same ingredients as the Spanish Kola-Coca too. 

READ ALSO: Why a mouse called Pérez is Spain’s tooth fairy

When it was first created, the basic ingredients of Coca-Cola were just coca leaves, cola nuts and soda water, the same recipe that was made in Aielo in Valencia, except, they used cold water from the region, instead of soda water.

While Coca-Cola went from strength to strength and finally achieved world domination, the distillery in Valencia went on to produce other drinks. 

Then in the mid-1950s, Kola-Coca disappeared from sale when it is said, that representatives from the Coca-Cola company visited the Aielo factory to buy the patent for the ‘heavenly anise’ drink. 

Although there is no material evidence of this patent ever exchanging hands, it’s interesting to think the inspiration for this most American of drinks could have originated in a small village in Spain.

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