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Scottish curry houses accused of fraud

12 March 2013

Image courtesy of roboppy
Image courtesy of roboppy

The practice of substituting lamb with beef is ‘widespread’ in Indian restaurants and takeaways across Scotland, according to a leading bacteriologist. Professor Hugh Pennington made the announcement following the publication of a Food Standards Agency report that revealed low quality beef has been passed of as lamb in 46 out of 129 curry houses.

Prof Pennington, emeritus professor of bacteriology at the University of Aberdeen, said that he has been aware of the issue ‘for years’ and that it was potentially a bigger problem than the use of horsemeat.

When the Scottish Food Enforcement Liaison Committee - part of the FSA - carried out 129 tests, it was discovered that 33 of those contained no lamb at all, while the remaining 13 used some lamb and cheap cuts of beef.

Prof Pennington, told the BBC: "There's been intelligence about it for a number of years, so there's nothing new about it. Quite a large amount of testing has been done, which has shown the scale of the problem. It's a bit like the horsemeat issue - it's fraud. Rather than one or two traders in Europe defrauding people, this is local and on a grander scale.

"It raises questions, not just about fraud, but also other issues. How good are their practices in the kitchen, if they're defrauding customers - how safe are they in other aspects? So I think the local authorities, who are primarily responsible for regulation - although the Food Standards Agency has an overarching responsibility - have to come down on these premises hard."

He called for the premises to be identified to allow customers to make their own choices.

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