That mince, curry, kebab or ready meal you’re eating might contain more species of animal than you’ve been led to believe, according to a new BBC report.
The BBC crunched data from the Food Standards Authority to show that 145 samples of meat tested by local authorities in 2017 contained DNA from animals that weren’t listed on the label.
The FSA said the levels found in the meat were consistent with “deliberate inclusion” – but added testing had targeted those businesses had already been suspected of “compliance issues”. The samples came from 487 businesses that have not been named.
73 of the samples found to contain rogue animal DNA came from retailers including three supermarkets. 50 came from restaurants and 22 from manufacturing or food processing plants.
The meat that was most frequently tampered with was lamb, followed by beef and goat. Beef was the most commonly found contaminant, followed by pig, chicken, lamb, and turkey.
The most prominently mis-labelled product was mince – followed by sausages, kebabs and curries. One of the samples was of ostrich meat, which in fact only contained beef. Ready meals including spaghetti Bolognese and pizza were also found to contain the presence of undeclared species.
In 2013 the food industry was rocked by the horse meat scandal, which uncovered widespread use of horse meat in supply chains. However, the FSA stressed today’s results were not “representative of the wider food industry,” and that they have come from specifically targeted businesses where failure to comply was already suspected.
“The number of unsatisfactory samples is a result of this targeted approach where businesses which don’t comply are sampled multiple times,” a spokesperson told HuffPost UK.
“Where problems are found, local authorities can consider appropriate action to protect customers and improve compliance, which may include a formal warning or taking enforcement action such as prosecutions or cautions.”