Early today Miami police raided a suspected horse slaughterhouse operation in rural Miami-Dade, arresting an elderly man accused of selling undercover cops the illegal meat for $7 a pound, reports the Miami Herald. Two detectives posed as a husband and wife who said they had a child suffering from anemia. In some cultures, iron-rich horse meat is believed to help symptoms.

The Herald said this is believed to be the first time in South Florida that investigators documented the actual sale of horse meat, a lucrative but highly secretive trade. In recent years, the carcasses of butchered horses, their meat bound for dinner tables, have been found across South Florida, resulting in only a handful of minor arrests. Eating horse meat is not illegal, but legislation outlawing the slaughter of horses for meat took effect in 2007 (although it is legal to ship horses to facilities over the border in Mexico and Canada). The U.S. Department of Agriculture provides oversight and took part in the investigation, sending meat samples to a lab in Georgia to confirm their equine origin.

The Associated Press reported yesterday that Burger King had stopped buying beef from an Irish meat processor whose patties were found to contain traces of horsemeat. The fast food chain said it had dropped Silvercrest Foods as a supplier for its U.K. and Ireland restaurants as a “voluntary and precautionary measure.” Last week Silvercrest shut down its production line and recalled 10 million burgers from supermarket shelves in Britain and Ireland after horse DNA was found in some beef products. Irish food officials said an ingredient imported from an unspecified European country and used as filler in cheap burgers was the likely source of the horsemeat contamination. READ MORE