One baa-d balti! Salford council’s got beef with Indian takeaway after meat ‘mix-up’

The owner of an Indian takeaway found himself in a hot spot after serving up a ‘lamb’ Balti that was revealed to be 100% beef by Food Standards Agency lad tests.

It’s never good to put the wrong meat in a dish, but when it’s a dish to be tasted by Trading Standards, it’s even worse.

And Durud Miah was caught red-handed doing just that when Salford City Council trading officers carried out a routine sampling test – he has been hit with a whopping £5,570 fine by magistrates as a consequence.

Councillor Gena Merrett, assistant mayor for housing and environment, said: “Mr Miah has cooked up his own recipe for disaster here by trying to pass beef off as lamb to his customers, blaming his staff and failing to produce paperwork he knows he must keep.”

The court heard that the order of a lamb balti was placed over the phone on June 5 2014 and later collected by the trading standards officer.

Before collecting, the officer identified herself to Mr Miah and explained that the dish would be tested as part of a request from the Food Standards Agency.

The officer returned to the takeaway in August where she revealed the results of the investigation and asked to take a further sample of the raw meat being used in the lamb dishes.  

Mr Miah opened a freezer drawer and pulled out an unmarked plastic bag which he claimed contained lamb and, when asked, confirmed there was no other lamb on the premises.

Further inspection found that the sample was almost entirely beef with less than 1% sheep meat in it at all and Mr Miah’s only excuse for this was that over £100 worth of beef had been bought by mistake.

However, the member of staff blamed for this mistake had worked at the takeaway for over two years and, as there were no beef dishes at all on the menu,  the officer suspected it was very unlikely that such a mistake could have been made.

Moreover, further investigations revealed that, despite the takeaway using an estimated 40 pounds of lamb a month, Mr Miah was unable to produce any receipts showing he had bought lamb between June and September last year.

In spite of his failings to do so, Mr Miah said he was fully aware of the importance of keeping all paperwork relating to buying food and having accurate descriptions on the menu to describe the products in the dish. 

It was decided by the court that Mr Miah had committed two offences under the Food Safety Act of 1990 – selling food not of the nature described to the consumer and falsely describing food when he appeared at Manchester and Salford’s Magistrate Court on Wednesday 15 July – for  both of which he was fined £1,000 as well as £420 costs.

His company, Indian Flava Limited was faced with the same charges which he admitted on its behalf and charged £3,000 as well as £1,000 costs and a victim surcharge of £150, taking the total to £5,570.

Cllr Merrett said: “People expect to get lamb when they ask for it and not cheaper cuts of meat.

“Our trading standards officers will continue working hard to make sure customers are served exactly what they expect to receive when buying a take away.

“He now has a bill for what surely must be the most expensive curry in the world.” 

Image courtesy of Bob Peters, with thanks.

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