Sheep meat was being sold as goat in at least eight cases across West Sussex, a Trading Standards investigation has found.
Officers went undercover to make test purchases after a consumer complained the goat meat he bought was actually sheep.
Of the 11 cases six were linked to a problem with the wholesaler or abattoir rather than the retailer, but in one case the butcher concerned told the Trading Standards officer: ‘Well goat is the same as sheep isn’t it?’
Peter Aston, Trading Standards team manager, said: “The results were concerning. 11 samples of what was described as goat meat were purchased covertly from outlets in the County. In eight cases, DNA tests on the meat found it to be from sheep.”
Mr Aston added: “Once butchered, goat meat is very difficult to tell from mutton or lamb which is why proper traceability and labelling is vital.
“Goat meat can sell for around £1 per kilo more than equivalent cuts from a sheep, so there is some financial advantage to be gained.”
David Barling, West Sussex County Council’s cabinet member for residents’ services, said: “This work shows how important it is for the public to let us know of their concerns.
“From a single consumer complaint, a widespread problem has been identified that won’t just be affecting West Sussex.
“Our Trading Standards Officers will certainly get to the bottom of what has been going on and are sharing their findings with the Food Standards Agency.”
To contact trading standards in suspected meat substitution cases call Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06 or online at www.westsussex.gov.uk/tsreport
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