In a recent sampling carried out by Cumbria County Council’s Trading Standards department a number of concerns were revealed regarding the substitution of meat species in food products.
Councillor Celia Tibble, Cabinet Member for Trading Standards, said: “Substitution of lamb with cheaper meats is unacceptable, transparency and honest labelling is essential in ensuring businesses do not mislead their customers.
“Our Trading Standards service will take enforcement action against any businesses deliberately misleading.”
Nationwide sampling shows that lamb is the most substituted meat, with the most frequently substituted products being mince, curries, and kebab meat.
The meat most used as both a substitute and an adulterant in lamb products is beef, followed by chicken.
Lamb meat is currently over twice the price of beef.
Eleven of these were unsatisfactory, the most significant of which were as follows:
- One request for lamb and mint burgers resulted in a sample which consisted entirely of pork. The fact that there was no evidence of mint in the sample suggested that it had been supplied in error and a follow-up sample contained 99.9% lamb DNA and 0.1% pork.
- A further sample of minced lamb was found to consist of 90% beef DNA but unfortunately the premises ceased trading before any follow-up action could be undertaken.
- A further sample of minced lamb from another premises was found on analysis to contain 64% pork DNA and a follow-up sample has been taken with a view to enforcement action.
- A further eight samples of koftas, burgers and mince contained DNA of other species mainly in the region of 0.1% to 10% with one at 20 %. A number of these were summer barbeque products from premises which had not had lamb products for sale on previous visits.
Officers took 40 samples, consisting of 18 lamb curries and lamb kebabs from takeaways, 15 meat products such as burgers and koftas, 3 meats and 4 lamb minces, all from retailers, mainly but not exclusively, local butchers.
Of the 40 samples, 12 were reported as incorrect.
Looking at the meals sourced from takeaways, one lamb curry was found to consist entirely of beef and was purchased from a premises which did not have any beef dishes on its menu.
A follow-up sample meal was found to consist of 50% beef and 50% lamb.
The business is in the process of being reported for possible prosecution.
All of the other 17 takeaway meals were correct.
The picture was more mixed regarding the 22 samples taken from retailers.