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Environment, Fraud and prosecutions

Butcher fined for ‘mutton dressed as goat’ scam

A BRIXTON butcher who tried to make mincemeat of his customers by selling them cheap mutton instead of pricey goat meat has received a roasting in court.

Lambeth Council prosecuted Jameel Ahmed after council food safety inspectors found he was passing off mutton as more expensive goat meat to turn a profit at his butcher shop, J A Halal Meat, in Atlantic Road, Brixton.

Genuine goat meat can cost around £16 a kilo, compared to mutton which sells for around £10 a kilo.

Food safety officers were tipped off by an irate customer who had suspicions after getting home and cooking the meat. The inspectors visited the shop on three occasions and found the meat mislabelled each time, despite issuing Mr Ahmed with formal warnings that he faced prosecution if he continued the scam.

“This wasn’t so much ‘mutton dressed up as lamb’ as ‘mutton dressed up as goat,’” said Cllr Lorna Campbell, Cabinet Member for Environment on Lambeth Council. “We are determined to crack down on the minority of shops who seek to rip off their customers.

Ahmed pleaded guilty to an offence of mislabelling meat under Regulation 5 of The General Food Regulations 2004. He was given a fine of £100 at Tower Bridge Magistrates’ Court on 7 February 2012.

He also pleaded guilty to another offence under health and safety laws for failing to provide a slice thickness guard on one of his saws used for slicing meat, putting his staff at risk of injury.  The safety guard protects the user’s hands from the moving blade. He received a further fine for this of £250. He was also ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £15 and council costs of £2,878.

Lambeth Councils Food Safety and Health & Safety Officers act on tip offs from members of the public. To report suspicious activity email foodsafety@lambeth.gov.uk or call 020 7926 6110.

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