Food probe finds 'lamb' kebabs had chicken and beef traces
Published 25/07/2014 | 02:30
A food fraud investigation has found lamb kebabs 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 outlets 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 60pc chicken and from 5pc to 30pc beef.
The FSAI report survey found only three of the six had any lamb but the levels were as low as between 1pc and 5pc.
The agency said only one of the 10 lamb dishes sampled – minced meat for lamb skewers and described on the menu as lamb – contained more than 60pc beef and more than 30pc lamb.
Prof Alan Reilly, FSAI chief executive, said safety was not the issue but it was a matter of 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, meatballs and pasta dishes. This demonstrates compliance by the industry, the agency said.
The Irish meat industry was rocked by revelations over tainted beef, with millions of burgers withdrawn from sale as the horse meat scandal spread throughout Europe after traces of horse DNA were found in beef products.
Prof Reilly said last year's controversy over tainted beef demonstrated how vital consumer trust and confidence was 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.
Chief executive of the Restaurants Association of Ireland Adrian Cummins condemned the discovery and said "people have to be brought before the courts".
He said: "Somebody has dropped the ball with regards to making sure that the supply chain isn't tampered with.
"Whoever is supplying the meat into the food service industry, we need to go back and see if there is a system failure there.
"It's going to damage the reputation of the whole industry, and we need to make sure that this doesn't happen."