Food fraud uncovered in foodservice

Food fraud uncovered in foodservice

Consumer watchdog magazine ‘Which?’ has launched a new campaign to ‘Stop Food Fraud’ as its latest investigation found 40% of lamb takeaways had been contaminated with other meats, with some containing no lamb at all.

‘Which?’ tested 60 takeaway lamb curries and minced kebabs from restaurants in Birmingham and London and found that 24 of them had been mixed with other meats such as beef and chicken. Seven of the samples contained no lamb at all.

The meat in five of the samples could not be identified, with the most likely explanation for this being the meat had been overcooked or re-cooked.

In Birmingham, 16 of the 30 samples contained other meat. Five of the samples contained no lamb at all.

In comparison, eight of the 30 samples in London were mixed with other meat. Two of the minced lamb kebabs contained just beef.

Which? is calling on the Government, local authorities and the Food Standards agency to Stop Food Fraud and help restore consumers’ trust in the industry following the horse meat scandal.

The campaign wants local authorities to deliver food law enforcement effectively and efficiently. Given the limited resources that many local authorities are working with it says they need to make the best use of these by sharing services and expertise across councils. It also says The Food Standards Agency needs to ensure there is joined up action at a national and local level that prioritises consumers’ interest.

Looking at the lessons learned from horse meat ‘Which?’ says the Government should implement the recommendations from the Elliott Review on horse meat and prioritise food controls, standards and their enforcement. It wants a zero tolerance approach to food fraud so potential fraudsters know they will be caught.

Professor Chris Elliott, Director of the Institute for Global Food Security, said: “The survey results come as no great surprise to me. Whenever issues about food contamination and adulteration are looked for in a serious way they are found. Without rigorous monitoring programmes in place cheats will always try to take advantage of consumers.

“We need to develop systems in the UK that deter fraud and help support the many businesses that work hard to deliver safe and authentic food.”

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