CONSUMERS ordering lamb curries or lamb kebabs may not get what they expect a Warwickshire County Council Trading Standards Service project has revealed.
Trading Standards Officers visited 20 restaurants and takeaways, at random, in Rugby, Stratford upon Avon, Leamington Spa and Nuneaton purchased 39 lamb curries and lamb kebabs.
These were then tested to see what meat they actually contained and to check for high levels of artificial colours.
Lamb is typically the most expensive meat consumers can buy, followed by beef and pork with chicken being the cheapest. Trading Standards Officers wanted to check that consumers were getting what they expected – and paid for!
Incredibly, none of the 20 lamb kebabs sampled contained just lamb! They all contained a mixture of lamb together with either pork, beef or poultry (chicken).
Trading Standards Officers understand that some restaurants may be knowingly using chicken in their lamb kebabs as it helps to ensure the meat sticks together around the skewer during cooking.
Of the 19 lamb curries tested, only three contained just lamb. Again, most contained a mixture of lamb together with either beef or poultry (chicken).
Four lamb curries didn’t contain any lamb at all!
The foods were also checked for high levels of artificial colourings. Adults can be adversely affected by artificial colours, and in children trigger hyperactivity.
Although none of the curries were found to contain high levels of colours, 70% of the kebabs tested did. One contained levels of artificial colouring that were 18 times higher than permitted, another was 13 times higher. This may be due to human error in preparation of the marinades used by the restaurants and takeaways to give the kebab colour.
Warwickshire County Councillor Richard Hobbs, Portfolio Holder for Community Safety said: “Trading Standards carry out important work to help ensure that the food we eat is correctly described and safe.”
“Consumers rely on accurate food descriptions. Some foods are not permitted to be eaten by some religions and cultures whilst some people may wish to avoid some foods because of allergy concerns.”
“Consumers should also have the confidence that if they are buying an expensive product such as lamb, that they are not getting chicken instead, a meat that is half the price.”
“Warwickshire Trading Standards will now be contacting every restaurant and takeaway involved. Further investigations are to be carried out and advice will be provided to retailers and the wholesale trade.”