Belfast Telegraph

Friday 21 November 2014

Tainted lamb found in takeaways

Tests on lamb meat in takeaways revealed some of it contained beef and chicken DNA
Tests on lamb meat in takeaways revealed some of it contained beef and chicken DNA

A food fraud investigation has found lamb from takeaways tainted with beef and chicken DNA.

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI), which exposed the horse meat scandal last year, revealed that seven out of 20 meals sampled from fast food joints in Dublin were contaminated.

No horse meat, goat, pig or turkey DNA was found in any sample.

But the food safety chiefs said that six lamb kebabs from takeaways were in fact more than 60% chicken and from five to 30% beef.

The FSAI report survey found only three of the six had any lamb but the levels were as low as between 1% and 5%.

The agency said only one of the ten lamb dishes sampled - minced meat for lamb skewers and described on the menu as lamb - contained more than 60% beef and more than 30% lamb.

Prof Alan Reilly, FSAI chief executive, said safety was not the issue but misleading consumers about the food they are eating.

"When you order a lamb kebab you expect to get a lamb kebab and not a beef and chicken kebab," he said.

"Incorrectly listing meat products on a menu or menu board, whether inadvertently or by design, is an unacceptable infringement of the labelling legislation."

Prof Kelly said the FSAI will not hesitate to take action.

The takeaways investigated and found to be selling tainted food have not been named.

In a second investigation, part of an ongoing EU-wide programme on food fraud, the FSAI studied 52 beef products and found no traces of horse DNA.

The products included burgers, meat-based meals, corned beef, meat balls and pasta dishes.

This demonstrates compliance by the industry, the agency said.

Prof Reilly added that that last year's controversy over tainted beef demonstrates how vital consumer trust and confidence is for food businesses and for Ireland's wider food industry.

He said robust supplier controls in place at all times should be a key priority for food businesses.

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