Bogus meat: Manchester supermarket slapped with £20k fine after selling lamb mince bulked out with beef

A Manchester supermarket has been slapped with a £20,000 after twice being caught selling lamb mince containing 50% beef.

Manchester Superstore (Rusholme) Limited, which is based in Wilmslow Road and supplied meat to many of the restaurants and takeaways on the Curry Mile, were found guilty after their representatives failed to turn up to a hearing at Manchester Magistrates’ Court.

They were caught 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 a hearing last week, 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.”

As well as the £20,000 fine, the firm were ordered to pay £1,676 costs with a £120 victims of crime surcharge.

Picture courtesy of Google StreetView, with thanks.

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