West Sussex Trading Standards Service (WSTSS) has been examining the descriptions and contents of kebabs at sellers across the county for the past few months.
They found that eight out of 10 descriptions were wrong.
They also discovered that, while many products that were being sold as ‘lamb’ kebabs were mostly made from lamb, they also contained “significant amounts” of poultry, beef, and even veal.
A spokesman from WSTSS told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “If you are selling something described as a ‘lamb kebab’, the only meat in it should be lamb, unless the menu description tells you otherwise. Doner kebab is also regarded as meaning lamb.
“Traders were buying meat that was mainly lamb but had a percentage of other meat in it too. It was on the label but the sellers didn’t read it, or change their menus,” said the spokesman.
‘A serious matter’
Most of the problems identified were a result of local sellers not understanding the rules rather than deliberately setting out to deceive the public, according to the WSTSS. It has given the sellers a warning and a chance to put matters right before revisiting them.
All the traders concerned corrected the descriptions applied.
WSTSS says it has now visited a large proportion of sellers in West Sussex and is working with them to ensure they understand their legal requirements and sell products that are correctly described.
County Council cabinet member for public protection, Christine Field, said: “We want to remind traders that misdescribing food is a serious matter.
“What goes on sale for the public to eat has to be what has been described.
“Anyone who has any concerns should get in touch with our Trading Standards officers.”
The council refused to “name and shame” the outlets they had visited.
Horse meat scandal
The news comes on the back of the recent scandal surrounding the discovery of horse meat in burgers, which has seen millions of value burgers withdrawn from the shelves of major retailers.
Ireland’s minister for agriculture, food and the marine, Simon Coveney made a recent announcement (January 26) clearing Irish ingredients of blame. Coveney said results of tests by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) had made a “direct correlation” between imported raw material from a Polish supplier and the burgers in which a high level of horse DNA had been detected.
A statement from the Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine said: “The minister also reaffirmed that tests on samples taken from Irish food ingredients were negative and he was pleased that the integrity of Irish food production was maintained.”
Welcoming the news, ABP Foods, the meat processor at the centre of the scandal, announced a group reorganisation, which includes the appointment of a new management team at ABP Foods’ Silvercrest facility and independent audits of all third-party suppliers.