A Manchester Halal butcher has been given a £15,000 fine after being caught selling ‘Halal lamb mince’ which was, in fact, laced with cheap beef. Master Halal Meat butchers of Ayres Road, Old Trafford, was found guilty of two counts of food fraud at Trafford Magistrates’ Court.
The discovery was made after Trafford Council EHOs sampled produce from a number of food outlets across the borough in the wake of the 2015 UK horse meat scandal – where a number of unexpected items were found and not just in the bagging area. During the inspections a sample lamb burger taken from a bakery was found to contain just 50% lamb. The owners insisted they were not responsible and pointed to their supplier, Master Halal Meat. Two samples of ‘lamb’ mince were taken directly from the supplier and were found to contain 50% and 30% beef respectively.
When interviewed by officers, the director of Master Halal Meat, Abdul Fadel, blamed the shop manager and said he had recently been sacked. The officers returned to the shop two months later and took a further sample of ‘lamb’ mince. Again, the sample was again found to contain 50% beef, opening Fadel to a well-deserved prosecution. It isn’t illegal to sell such a mixture provided that the label correctly describes the product. But food fraud such as this is very much against the law.
Master Halal Meat was found guilty of two offences of selling food not of the nature demanded by the purchaser. The business was fined £15,000 and ordered to pay £3,304 in court costs. Helen Jones, Trafford Council’s deputy chief executive, said: “Customers requesting lamb from any butcher expect to receive exactly what they ask for and not cheaper cuts of meat. All consumers have the right to know they are getting what they paid for and we will continue to take action against anyone who tried to profit by deliberately misleading the public. Practices like this are unacceptable and cannot be tolerated.”