Falkirk inspectors find beef being sold as lamb
Health inspectors in Falkirk say they have found several meat suppliers selling "fake" lamb to restaurants and fast food outlets in the area.
The council's environmental health team discovered that 10 out of 14 businesses were selling cheap cuts of beef but describing it as lamb.
Inspectors uncovered the consignments - marked "curry meat" - during a survey at the end of 2010.
All the businesses caught out have been given a formal warning.
And the inspectors said they would make more unannounced inspections in the future to ensure the wholesale suppliers were not continuing to mislabel the meat.
Falkirk Council's food safety regulation manager John Sleith said: "While we have given these businesses a warning, we won't hesitate to prosecute if they are still not complying with the legislation."
The meat suppliers could be fined £20,000 or face six months in prison if they continue to break the law.
Charles MacDonald, Falkirk Council's health and safety convenor, said: "Unreputable business owners have sourced cheap cuts of beef at far cheaper prices than they would be paying for lamb.
"It is then sold on as lamb in various dishes that they serve allowing them to make a healthy profit while scamming the consumer."
The practice breaks regulations set down by the 1990 Food Safety Act.
Mr MacDonald added: "Substitution of one meat for another without informing the public is wrong, illegal and in some cases could potentially have serious religious and moral repercussions for certain sections of our communities.
"This is something we will do everything in our power to stop as it is simply deception.'
Falkirk Council inspectors said they were working with their counterparts in Glasgow and other authorities where suppliers were supplying local businesses in Falkirk.
The council has warned restaurants to buy meat only from reputable suppliers and to ensure the product has proper labelling and documentation.