The arrests follow an eight-month long investigation into the operation, according to a story published on DutchNews.nl
The prosecution office suspects that the company blended and resold substances from mostly unregistered producers - or even waste not suitable for use in feed – to farmers as feed with the GMP + quality label. The company may have generated revenue of €4m through this fraudulent approach from 2017 up until May 2019, said the authorities.
The officials said the scam created a risk for both human and animal health.
Some 7,000 tons of waste from food processing firms was found in tanks and silos at the factory when it was closed down in an emergency operation by the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) carried out in May 2019.
The NVWA inspectors reported that the factory in question did not meet hygiene standards and many of the tanks were rusty and contaminated.
The defendants are also suspected of forging documents, making it impossible to check the origins of the animal feed. "This is undesirable, because the possibility of tracing an animal feed throughout the food chain is of the utmost importance for the protection of public and animal health," stated the OM [translated from the original Dutch].
The active evasion or undermining of this system is not only a risk for a single farmer but for the entire food chain as it creates distrust, said the officials.
“Farmers and consumers must be able to count on the fact that feed does not contain any contaminants.”