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Horsegate arrests as Lamb Kebabs come under attack

Lamb Kebabs and Curries come under attack from the media following a review of Local Authority sampling data shows that 43 out of 145 samples of lamb takeaways were found to contain meat other than lamb. 

This recent survey follows the announcement by Defra Minister George Eustice concerning long awaited enforcement action over the ‘horsegate’ scandal that arose last year.

The Food Standards Agency have announced priority testing across the UK from the beginning of May, following the discovery of the substitution of lamb for cheaper meats in such as chicken and beef. The survey of data from July to December 2013 found that 43 out of 145 samples of lamb takeaway meals contained meat other than lamb.

The results of the survey found 25 samples that contained only beef and 43 contained other meats. In another survye by Which of restaurants in Birmingham and London, 60 dishes were tested, and 24 found other meats, 7 contained only beef and 5 samples could not identify the meat that was used, causing the Daily Mail to speculate that vermin may have been used. There is no evidence to support this claim.

The surveys continue to pile the pressure on Defra minister George Eustice as the clamour for action following the ‘Horsegate’ scandal continues unabaited. On 2nd April 2014 he announced in a debate at Westminster Hall that five arrestes have been made and the announcement by the CPS of two cases being taken to court demonstrates that action is being taken to protect consumers from mislabelling and to tackle food businesses’ failure to ensure the traceabiltiy of the products that they supply.

Although it is understood that the charges do not allege the passing off of horsemeat as beef, it seems that political pressure must have brought about some action, despite the weaknesses in the prosectution of food safety that were identifed by the Elliot review. See article 4th March on this blog.

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