I love a good curry! Particularly a tasty lamb rogan josh, but I may be thinking twice before ordering this from a takeaway based on yesterday’s news. I thought we had seen the last of meat mislabeling following the horse meat scandal over a year ago but the Food Standard Agency who are responsible for food safety in the UK have revealed further meat fraud. They tested 145 samples of lamb takeaway meals between July and December last year. They found that 30% of the lamb takeaway meals contained meat other than lamb. 17% of these were found to contain only beef. Other meat species identified included chicken and turkey. No samples were found to contain horse meat but I don’t think this makes me feel any better!
I sit here thinking surely I would be able to tell the difference between lamb and chicken in a curry? Perhaps lamb and beef could be a bit more tricky with the intense flavours and seasoning? For once I feel a little tiny bit sorry for the paralytic that ‘enjoy’ a curry after a night of heavy drinking (something that has never ever appealed to me yuk!) – not that I imagine they would ever have been able to tell what meat was in their curry, never mind remember or care about what they ordered – but I just don’t like the idea of people being deliberately mislead with food. I also think about the ‘meat’ curry I have often seen on a menu; I have always wondered what the meat was, felt too stupid to ask and thought it might be a bit dodgy anyway.
The Which consumer organisation have also completed their own survey of lamb dishes taken from restaurants in Birmingham and London. They bought 60 lamb takeaways; 30 curries and 30 minced lamb kebabs, of which a total of 24 were adulterated with beef and chicken. 7 of them contained no lamb at all and 5 of them contained ‘meat’ that couldn’t even be identified because it had been so highly processed (repeatedly reheated or over cooked). As with the typical rumours that start with these sorts of reports, some are speculating that this unidentified meat is possibly from vermin or pets (I don’t think I need to say any more than that as I am feeling quite sick at the thought now). It is also disturbing that those of Hindu or Sikh faith who do not eat beef for religious reasons may be unknowingly consuming it.
So funding to £2.2 million has been made available for local authorities to carry out food sampling and increase unannounced inspections of meat cutting plants but again we have lost confidence in food – best we just stick to cooking at home, at least you know what you’re getting. Don’t you?!