Sheepmeat falsely labelled as goatmeat in Sandwell

Over half of goatmeat sold in the retail and foodservice sector in the Sandwell area has been revealed to be sheep meat.

Sandwell Council’s trading standards team revealed that checks on meat and dishes claiming to contain goat showed that more than half were actually lamb or mutton.

Trading standards officers visited takeaways, butchers shops, supermarkets and restaurants selling goat in their dishes to check that they were in fact produced using goat.

The officers took 19 samples from raw and frozen meat, curries and other dishes. Of all the samples, 11 of them were found to be ‘mis-described’ – and they were actually lamb or mutton.

Under Section 14 of the Food Safety Act 1990, the substation of one meat for another is a criminal offence. By deceiving customers into believing they have purchased something that they haven’t is an act of fraud.

“Clearly it’s unacceptable that our officers have found businesses selling lamb and mutton as goat,” said cabinet member of public health and protection, councillor Preet Gill.

“It’s important that customers know exactly what they are purchasing so that they can make an informed choice about what they eat. Everyone has the right to know exactly what they are eating.”

Offenders could face fines up to £20,000 and/or imprisonment for up to six months if they are prosecuted in a Magistrates Court.

“It’s our job to ensure that food is correctly described and labelled,” added trading standards and licensing manager Rob Charnley. “We will speak to all the offending businesses and take any appropriate enforcement action necessary to ensure they comply with the rules in the future.”

Trading standards investigations are currently ongoing.

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