Glasgow & West Scotland

Glasgow health officers warn illegal meat may still be on sale

Butcher with meat Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption The report warns that it is not always possible to tell if meat comes from legal sources

Environmental health officers have warned that it is often impossible to tell whether meat on sale to the public comes from illegal sources.

A report to Glasgow City Council said "some food businesses have not learned lessons from the horsemeat scandal".

The health officers reported a single case in which a tonne of halal meat was seized from two Glasgow butchers.

They said Glasgow food businesses remain at risk of "food crime" from elsewhere in the food chain.

The investigation which resulted in the seizure of suspect halal meat began in 2010.

A subsequent allegation about illegal sources being part of the halal supply chain led to the investigation and seizure of the tonne of meat from Glasgow halal butchers.

The meat had been supplied by an unapproved cutting plant in Lancashire.

The environmental services report to the city council's health committee said recent allegations investigated by health officers included:

  • The supply of meat by unregistered traders
  • The supply of meat without any health marks
  • Illegal street-trading of meat from unmarked vans

Horsemeat fears

The report outlined how the horsemeat scandal in 2013 raised public awareness of the potential for food fraud.

It warned that unless traceability "significantly improves" it would be impossible to differentiate legal meat from that originating from illegal sources.

It concluded: "Glasgow food businesses remain at risk of food crime from elsewhere in the food chain."

A spokeswoman for Glasgow City Council said: "We have processes and procedures in place that give people a guarantee that what they are eating has been produced, processed and distributed in compliance with the hygiene regulations.

"This project will give people further confidence in those processes, allowing us to trace and verify the origins of, in this case, Halal meat and reduce exposure to food crime."

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