FSA survey results on lamb takeaways show work still to be done

FSA survey results on lamb takeaways show work still to be done

The Food Standards Agency has published the results of its survey of undeclared meat in lamb dishes from takeaway outlets across the UK and 21% of the samples tested failed.

The testing was announced last year and was prompted by evidence of ongoing substitution of lamb for cheaper meats, such as beef and chicken.

Local authority trading standards and environmental health officers sampled 307 lamb dishes, such as curries and kebabs, sold from takeaway outlets. All were tested for the presence of undeclared species of meat. Dishes with sauces were also tested for undeclared allergens and the unauthorised use of additives.

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 almonds proteins, and 7 samples (2%) were non-compliant because of the unauthorised use of additives.

Handling during processing

The samples that tested positive for undeclared meat showed the presence of beef, chicken, and in one sample pork, although not sold as a halal product. Of these samples, 23 had levels of undeclared meat species below 1% which the FSA says is more likely to indicate poor handling during processing rather than potential adulteration.

John Barnes, head of local delivery at the FSA, 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 lookout for deliberate meat substitution and action will be taken to protect local consumers and legitimate food businesses”

The FSA’s ongoing work to identify potential food fraud is being coordinated by the recently created Food Crime Unit. As part of this activity, the Food Crime Unit is working closely with local authorities, police forces, other Government departments, and the food industry to pool intelligence and take proactive action to protect consumers.

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