UK meat contamination, mislabelling widespread

Health inspectors in Leicester, Britain found that nearly half the meat products sampled in a survey contained species of animal that were not declared on the product’s label, reported.

- Advertisement -

Beef burgers and sausages sampled by Leicester Trading Standards contained undeclared chicken, while lamb curry was found to contain beef, or beef and lamb, or turkey. Leicester city council has published results from a survey of meat products on sale in its area in 2013, which show that gross contamination of meat is widespread.

The findings follow similar results from West Yorkshire, North Yorkshire and West Sussex councils, according to the news website. Minced beef samples were found to contain beef, chicken and lamb in the Leicester test. Lamb mince samples contained lamb, beef, chicken and turkey. Out of 20 samples of doner kebab meat, 12 failed to meet legal requirements.

In total, 105 samples of meat products were collected from butchers, retailers, wholesalers, manufacturers, fast food shops and caterers. Of these, 50 samples failed to meet legal requirements for composition and labelling, of which 47 contained undeclared species of animal.

- Advertisement -

Leicester council apparently said deliberate deception was probably the cause in several cases, while failure to clean meat processing machines properly may be the cause in others. In 18 samples, meat of an undeclared species accounted for levels between 60% and 100%. Other samples that failed testing, tested positive for at least one type of undeclared meat at medium (30% to 60%) or minor (5% to 30%) levels.

Last year researchers from Stellenbosch University found soya, donkey, goat and water buffalo meat in some local minced meats, burger patties, deli meats, sausages and dried meats. Pork (37%) and chicken (23%) were the most commonly detected animal species in products that were not supposed to contain them.

For more information visit