Food Standards Agency pledges action on dodgy kebabs
Food watchdogs in Northern Ireland have announced a crackdown on dodgy kebabs.
It comes after two studies in England showed that lamb is being replaced by cheaper meats such as beef or chicken in dishes from takeaway restaurants.
The Food Standards Agency will begin an investigation in Northern Ireland in May.
A spokesman said businesses could face prosecution if food was found to have been deliberately mislabelled.
In one of the studies, consumer watchdog Which? tested 60 takeaway lamb curries and minced lamb 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.
Queen's University's 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."
Maria Jennings, director of the Food Standards Agency in Northern Ireland, said: "We are aware that lamb can be substituted for cheaper meats in takeaway food, as seen in our own data and the survey released today by Which?
"This is an unacceptable practice and we will be working closely with district councils across Northern Ireland to ensure robust action is taken against any businesses misleading their customers."
Ms Jennings urged consumers to report any concerns they have about food they buy to their local council's environmental health department.