21 arrested in mass raids on horse meat trafficking in southern France

French law enforcement officials say 21 people have been arrested in raids across the south of France targeting the trafficking of horse meat that was treated with laboratory antibiotics and wasn't fit for human consumption.

More than 100 officers from the National Gendarmerie fanned out in 11 regions before dawn Monday, according to a statement. An official speaking on condition of anonymity because details had not yet been released said meat from animals used in research by drugmaker Sanofi-Pasteur was among the material involved, though the lab's role was unclear.

Benoit Hamon, consumption minister, told RTL radio that it was a question of food safety, rather than simple fraud.

"These were horses that should have ended up at the knacker, and instead they ended up at the butcher," he said.