Indian restaurants in Scotland substitute lamb with beef in curries
London: The practice of substituting lamb with beef is widespread in Indian restaurants and takeaways in Scotland, a leading bacteriologist has warned. Professor Hugh Pennington was speaking after a report revealed that low quality beef was passed off as lamb in one in three curries tested by the Food Standards Agency.
According to the BBC, Prof Pennington said he had been aware of the issue for years, adding that it was potentially a bigger scandal than the use of horsemeat. The Scottish Food Enforcement Liaison Committee, which is part of the FSA, carried out 129 tests in Indian restaurants and takeaways north of the border. It said cheap beef was passed off as lamb in 46 of those samples. In 33 of those, there was no lamb in the dishes, while the remaining 13 used some lamb and cheap cuts of beef, the report said.
The report, which was completed at the end of last year, did not identify the premises which had been surveyed. According to the report, it said that the results from the survey confirm that a significant proportion of lamb-based curries offered for sale in Indian, and similar style, restaurants and takeaways were falsely described as they contained either no lamb, or a mixture of lamb and other meat. Hugh Pennington, emeritus professor of bacteriology at the University of Aberdeen, said that the issue was a bit like the horsemeat issue - it's fraud.
Rather than one or two traders in Europe defrauding people, this is local and on a grander scale. Prof Pennington said the beef would not be dangerous if it was from a reputable source and was cooked properly. But he added that it raised questions, not just about fraud, but also other issues. How good are their practices in the kitchen, if they're defrauding customers - how safe are they in other aspects? He called for the premises to be identified to allow customers to make their own choices, the report added.
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