Lamb curries and kebabs 'often another meat'

lamb curry Half the lamb curries tested in Birmingham were contaminated, said Which?

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Takeaway owners are to face a new testing programme, after a watchdog found nearly a third of lamb takeaways it checked contained a different meat.

The Foods Standards Agency (FSA) found that 43 out of 145 samples of lamb takeaways - usually curries or kebabs - were wrongly described.

The FSA said 25 of the samples were found to contain only beef, which is cheaper than lamb.

Chicken and turkey were also found, but no samples contained horsemeat.

Start Quote

There needs to be a renewed effort to tackle this problem”

End Quote Andrew Rhodes Food Standards Agency

As a priority, local authorities are now being asked to test 300 samples of lamb from takeaways, starting at the beginning of May.

Takeaway owners are also being warned that they can be fined up to £5,000 for mislabelling food.

"Prosecutions have taken place against business owners for mislabelling lamb dishes, but the recurring nature of the problem shows there needs to be a renewed effort to tackle this problem," said Andrew Rhodes, chief operating officer at the FSA.

"Clearly the message isn't getting through to some businesses," he added.

Members of the public share their views on meat contamination


The consumer organisation Which? found an even higher instance of contamination, after a series of tests in London and Birmingham.

It found 40% of lamb takeaways contained other types of meat, with some containing no lamb at all.

Of 30 samples tested in Birmingham, 16 - more than half - contained other meat.

In a similar experiment in London, meat in eight of the samples was not pure lamb.

lamb curry The Elliott Review recommended the setting up of food crime unit

As part of its campaign to "Stop Food Fraud", Which? is now calling on the government to take further action to restore customer confidence in the origins of meat.

"The government, local authorities and the FSA need to make tackling food fraud a priority and take tougher action to crack down on the offenders," said Richard Lloyd, the executive director of Which?


Which? also wants the government to implement some of the recommendations in the Elliott Review, which followed last year's horsemeat scandal.

In the UK, 17 different beef products were found to contain traces of horsemeat, while supermarkets including Tesco and Asda were forced to withdraw products.

Among Professor Elliott's 48 interim recommendations, he suggested setting up a food crime unit, to police food standards better.

Earlier this week, the FSA also announced a new round of testing on beef products, to check for horsemeat.

The tests have been ordered by the European Commission following last year's scandal.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 675.

    I manufacture kebabs.They traditionally are lamb, but you will find they consist primarily of beef/veal and a smaller proportion of lamb.This is due to the cost pressure we face, caused by you, the customer. Kebab prices have barely risen in recent years yet our costs have. Customers are not willing to pay decent
    (£8+), so what do you expect? They should be correctly labelled in any case.

  • rate this

    Comment number 658.

    If it's fit for human consumption then that's fine by me.

    It's less than ten years ago that you could get Beef and Lamb 'flavoured' buirgers that were 85% chicken with the proviso on the lable at least 5% Beef or Lamb. The other 1o% being rusk, bran or onion.

  • rate this

    Comment number 411.

    Unless you get your meat from a tried and tested butcher most of the meat you eat today is not what it seems.
    Biggest culprit is the junk food we feed our kids, chicken nuggets etc which is mechanically recovered skin grizzle fat and offal shaped and covered to look like the real thing, I would imagine a lot of take a way establishments are using goat instead of lamb,

  • rate this

    Comment number 398.

    This is a big concern. If we can't be sure of the types of meat in curries, it raises the question of other adulteration in our food supply. What is most unsettling is how casually this seems to be dealt with. What has really happened since the horsemeat scandal? And this story about takeaways was in the news over a year ago. Why hasn't it been dealt with properly? Close down fraudulent suppliers

  • rate this

    Comment number 237.

    The mis-labelling of food appears to be rife and the only way to eradicate it is by stinging the miscreants with heavy and exorbitant fines. No doubt some will say, well at least it's not horse!!


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