A popular supermarket which supplies meat to many nearby restaurants and takeaways has been ordered to pay more than £20K after being found selling lamb mince containing 50 per cent beef.
Manchester Superstore (Rusholme) Limited who have a supermarket on Wilmslow Road, Rusholme, as well as a branch in Bradford, were found guilty of selling food not of the nature demanded after their representatives failed to turn up to a hearing at Manchester Magistrates’ Court.
They were fined £20,000 for the offence and ordered to pay £1,676 costs with a £120 victims of crime surcharge.
As part of a series of inspections across the city in 2014 following the UK horse meat scandal, Manchester City Council’s food hygiene officers visited a number of outlets in a bid to combat food fraud.
Samples of meat were taken and sent to a laboratory to be analysed.
A sample of ‘lamb’ taken from a Rusholme takeaway was found to contain 28 per cent beef.
The takeaway stated they were oblivious to the bogus meat which was supplied by Manchester Superstore.
In June 2014 investigating Environmental Health officers visited Manchester Superstore and discovered they were selling lamb mince containing 80 per cent beef.
Lamb mince can cost twice as much as beef mince so selling the sham mixture boosts profits for unscrupulous traders.
Officers returned to Manchester Superstore in early July to advise management of the test results and instructed them to ensure any food sold is correctly described.
It is not illegal to sell a mixture of lamb and beef mince providing it is clear to customers what is being sold.
Despite the warning, meat sampled by officers on a further visit in late August indicated the lamb contained 50 per cent beef and 1 per cent chicken.
At the Manchester Magistrates’ hearing on 26 August 2015, the chairman of the bench indicated the substantial fine was imposed because it was a supermarket, they ignored previous warnings and because they were supplying nearby restaurants and takeaways.
Councillor Nigel Murphy, Manchester City Council’s Executive Member for Neighbourhoods, said: “People have a right to know they are getting what they pay for.
“Let the size of the fine warn other unscrupulous traders that practices like this are unacceptable and will not be tolerated. We will continue to clamp down on anyone who tries to cut costs by misleading the public and selling substitute food.”