Mislabelled meat leads to investigation

It has been revealed that some butchers in the county of West Sussex have been selling lamb meat under the guise of goat.

The revelation came to light following an investigation by West Sussex Trading Standards Service, which saw officers go undercover to make test purchases after a customer claimed the goat meat he bought was, in fact, sheep.

The results were concerning, confirmed Peter Aston, Trading Standards team manager. Eleven samples of what was described as goat meat were purchased covertly from outlets in the county. In eight cases, DNA tests on the meat found it to be from a sheep.

It was highlighted that, in the majority of cases, the responsibility did not fall to the retailer, but to the wholesaler or abattoir where the meat was sourced.

Once butchered, goat meat is very difficult to tell from mutton or lamb, which is why proper traceability and labelling is vital, Aston added.

Goat meat can sell for around 1 per kilo more than equivalent cuts from a sheep, so there is some financial advantage to be gained.

David Barling, the County Councils cabinet member for public protection took this opportunity to stress the importance of the public communicating with the council: This work shows how important it is for the public to let us know of their concerns.

From a single consumer complaint, a widespread problem has been identified that wont just be affecting West Sussex. Our Trading Standards Officers will certainly get to the bottom of what has been going on and are sharing their findings with the Food Standards Agency.

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