Meat supplier prosecuted by trading standards
A Somerset-based food manufacturer found to have sold beefburgers containing meat species other than beef has been prosecuted by Rhondda Cynon Taf Council.
Penny Lane Foods Limited of Yeo Road, Bridgwater, pleaded guilty at Pontypridd Magistrates’ Court to two charges of selling food, with a label that described the food as “Texas Beefburger”, which was likely to mislead as to its true substance.
The company was fined £1,000 per offence and ordered to pay £1,000 costs and a £100 victim surcharge, amounting to a total charge of £3,100.
The offences were discovered after the Council’s Trading Standards team procured samples of the burgers from a Rhondda Cynon Taf-based wholesaler.
The sampling was as a result of reactive work being carried out by the department during February 2013 which included increased food sampling as a result of the horse meat investigation.
The case was part of a joint investigation with Northumberland Trading Standards. Officers from Northumberland had also sampled “Texas Beefburgers” from a wholesaler in Tyne and Wear, the burgers were also produced by Penny Lane Foods and it was determined that they had been produced on the same day as the burgers sampled by Rhondda Cynon Taf Council.
The samples were submitted to a laboratory where tests were carried out to determine the meat species present. The laboratory reported a significant amount of beef, sheep, and a lesser, but still significant amount of chicken DNA to be present.
The only meat species specified in the product’s name and ingredient list was beef and therefore, this was considered likely to mislead consumers.
During the court hearing the solicitor for Penny Lane Foods said that the company had been trading for 30 years and that this had been a one off incident. The problem had been caused by cross contamination on the production line.
The company accepted that their system had not worked as intended on the day in question and confirmed that they have now introduced a system of tests to ensure that there is no further cross contamination between meat products.
David Jones. Head of Community Protection at Rhondda Cynon Taf Council said, “Consumers are entitled to expect food that is correctly described and labelled. This prosecution comes at a time when it is likely that consumers’ confidence in food labelling and authenticity has been tarnished by the recent horse meat scandal.
“I hope that this prosecution will demonstrate to consumers and manufacturers who invest time and resources into ensuring that their products are accurately described and presented that checks are being made by Trading Standards Officers and that substitution will be detected and acted upon.”
For more information about the effectiveness of ffod safety and authenticity, view this National Audit Office study (https://www.tradingstandards.gov.uk/policy/policy-pressitem.cfm/newsid/1292).
For further information contact:
Dean Powell, Media Liaison Officer
Telephone: 01443 424153 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
DATE: 28 October 2013