One in five meat samples reveal mislabelling

More than five years after the horsemeat scandal rocked the UK food industry meat substitution remains rife, according to an investigation.

The BBC reported this week that more than a fifth of meat sample tests in 2017 found DNA from animals not listed on the label.

It follows a Freedom of Information request made to the Food Standards Agency (FSA) which revealed that out of 665 samples collected by local authorities from England, Wales and Northern Ireland, 145 were partly or wholly made up of unspecified meat.

The results include samples taken from restaurants, supermarkets, and food processing and manufacturing facilities.

Meat labelled as lamb was the most likely to contain different species with cow meat the most common contaminant. Some samples contained up to four different species of animals with one portion of ostrich meat found to contain only beef.

Mincemeat was the product most likely to be mislabelled with restaurant curries and kebabs also featuring prominently.

The FSA told the BBC that the levels were consistent with "deliberate inclusion", but added that testing had been targeted at businesses suspected of "compliance issues".

Local authorities are responsible for enforcing food labelling and hygiene requirements, however many have been forced to reduce their level of sampling activity in recent years due to budget cuts.

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