North Yorkshire County Council’s trading standards officers are warning all North Yorkshire caterers not to be tempted into substituting beef for lamb as a way of reducing the cost of the meals they produce.
Recent prosecutions of two restaurants in North Yorkshire have proved expensive for the businesses. Trading standards officers made a test purchase of lamb curries from Aroma, Zetland Street, Northallerton and Moti Raj, High Skellgate, Ripon. Both curries were tested and the meat was found to be 100% beef in both cases.
During the investigation both businesses commented that they had ordered meat from their suppliers, rather than specifying lamb, which had led to them being supplied with the wrong product.
Aroma Redefining Ltd pleaded guilty last Monday (24 Feb 2014) at Northallerton Magistrates Court to two offences of providing food not of the nature demanded to the prejudice of the purchaser and applying a false label to that food. They were fined £2,500 plus £529 costs and a £120 victim surcharge. Motiraj Contemporary Ltd and its director pleaded guilty at Harrogate Magistrates Court last Wednesday to similar offences and were fined a total of £3000 plus costs of £547 and a £120 victim Surcharge.
The magistrates commented that whilst this was not a food safety matter and there were no consumer complaints, the public took a dim view of this and this type of offence could have religious implications for some faiths.
County Councillor Chris Metcalfe executive member for Trading Standards and Planning Services said: Consumers should not be subjected to this type of scam which can only be described as a form of ‘food fraud’. If a consumer pays for a lamb dish then he or she should be given lamb and not a cheaper alternative. Trading standards will continue to carry out intelligence-led work to tackle this type of crime.