FSA testing reveals undeclared meat in lamb takeaways

In an Food Standards Agency (FSA) survey on lamb takeaway dishes, almost a quarter of samples tested contained undeclared meat, the body has revealed.

The FSA yesterday (9 February) published the results, after local authority trading standards and environmental health officers sampled 307 lamb dishes to look into the illegal undeclared substitution of lamb for cheaper meats in dishes like curries and kebabs.

Dishes were also tested for undeclared allergens and the unauthorised use of additives.

The FSA said that, of the samples tested, 223 (73%) were fully compliant with food legislation; 65 samples (21%) failed because of the presence of non-declared meat, 12 samples (4%) tested positive for the presence of undeclared allergens, including peanut and almond proteins, and seven samples (2%) were non-compliant because of the unauthorised use of additives.

Beef, chicken and pork were found in the samples that tested for undeclared meat. However, the FSA explained that 23 had levels of undeclared meat species below 1%, which is more likely to indicate poor handling during processing rather than potential adulteration.

Local authorities have followed up on cases where problems were identified and relevant action, including prosecutions, has been taken.

John Barnes, FSA head of local delivery, said: Consumers need to know that the food they buy is what it says on the menu or the label. The FSA is working with local authorities to identify potential problems and investigate. Where problems are identified, local authorities are taking corrective action, including prosecuting offending businesses where necessary. The FSA and local authorities are on the look-out for deliberate meat substitution, and action will be taken to protect local consumers and legitimate food businesses.

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