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6 May 2015, 15:39 | Updated: 7 May 2015, 08:40
A Gateshead takeaway has been fined for serving Lamb Rogan Josh without any lamb in it.
The Razni takeaway on Durham Road, Low Fell pleaded guilty to three offences under the Food Safety Act 1990 - two for substitution of lamb meat with beef and one for falsely describing mutton as lamb - at Sunderland Magistrates Court in a prosecution brought by Gateshead Council.
The business had been sampled as part of the Food Standards Agency’s annual sampling survey in 2014-15, in which local authorities were asked to sample from a range of Indian takeaways to establish if lamb meat was being substituted.
The Razni was initially sampled in July 2014 where a portion of Lamb Rogan Josh was purchased.
After careful analysis, the Public Analyst notified Officers that this did not contain any lamb meat at all but consisted entirely of beef.
Formal sampling was then undertaken by Gateshead Council Environmental Health Officers with a further Lamb Rogan Josh meal purchased in August 2014.
This too was found to consist entirely of beef with no lamb meat present.
Subsequent investigations established that while the business could provide invoices for beef, chicken and mutton the period during which the samples were taken, it was unable to provide any invoices for lamb during the same period.
Mr Harun Rashid Chowdhury, the registered food business operator, admitted under caution that he had been using mutton in place of lamb as he had considered it to be the same - despite lamb being listed on the menu.
He also stated that on both occasions, the presence of beef in place of lamb was a mistake.
Mr Chowdhury pleaded guilty at Gateshead Magistrates Court on April 23, 2015.
Sentencing was deferred to a District Judge at Sunderland Magistrates Court ywhere a fine totalling £6,700 including victim surcharge and costs was issued.
Anneliese Hutchinson, Gateshead Council’s Service Director for Development and Public Protection, says:
"This is an issue which the Foods Standards Agency asked all authorities across the country to look into.
When you buy any product, you have the right to expect to receive what you think you’ve bought. Adulteration of food is a serious offence and I’m pleased that the District Judge has taken a tough line on this case.
We will continue to monitor and help Gateshead’s food businesses to provide a good standard of food to their customers."