Meat wholesaler fined for passing sheep off as goat meat

A Kent meat wholesaler has been prosecuted by West Sussex Trading Standards for supplying sheep meat instead of goat. 

Forge Farm Meats, based in Tunbridge Wells, was ordered to pay more than £8,000 in fines and costs after it supplied West Sussex butchers with sheep meat to be sold as goat.

The case was brought to Trading Standards attention when a customer complained about the product. Trading Standards officers covertly purchased 11 samples of goat meat from West Sussex butchers and restaurants and found eight of the 11 eleven samples to be sheep meat.

The company pleaded guilty to two offences under the Food Safety Act for supplying misrepresented goat legs to two butchers.

Peter Aston, team manager for West Sussex Trading Standards, said: “Traceability and correct labelling is vital as, once butchered, goat meat is very difficult to tell apart from mutton or lamb.

“Some of the sources of the meat tested traced back to a Spanish cutting plant, so as a result we are sharing information from our investigation with the Food Standards Agency and Spanish authorities.

“So far our investigations into this fraud have led to two West Sussex butchers receiving cautions and a meat supplier to the catering industry receiving a warning letter.”

David Barling, West Sussex County Council’s cabinet member for residents’ services, added: “Not only were consumers misled by this dishonest act but so were the local businesses involved, who purchased the meat in good faith.

“This sentencing serves as a reminder to those that are involved in falsely advertising and selling produce that we will find out and we will make sure enforcement action is taken against you.”

Investigations by Trading Standards are still ongoing to ensure all businesses involved no longer sell falsely described meat.

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