London : Takeaway joints in Britain will face a new stringent testing programme and a fine after a food watchdog found nearly a third of lamb takeaways — usually curries or kebabs — it checked contained a different meat.

 The Foods Standards Agency (FSA) found that 43 out of 145 samples of lamb takeaways were wrongly described. The FSA said 25 of the samples were found to contain only beef, which is cheaper than lamb. Inspectors have been analysing fast food and found that lamb had routinely been replaced with pork, beef, chicken, turkey.

  The studies by FSA and another by consumer group Which? come more than a year after the supermarket horse meat scandal and suggest food fraud is still widespread. As a priority, local authorities are now being asked to test 300 samples of lamb from takeaways, starting from early May, the BBC reported, according to PTI.

 Takeaway owners are also being warned that they can be fined up to £5,000 for mislabelling food.

“Prosecutions have taken place against business owners for mislabelling lamb dishes, but the recurring nature of the problem shows there needs to be a renewed effort to tackle this problem,” chief operating officer at the FSA, Andrew Rhodes said. “Clearly the message isn’t getting through to some businesses,” he said. The consumer organisation Which? found an even higher instance of contamination, after a series of tests in London and Birmingham. It found 40 per cent of lamb takeaways contained other types of meat, with some containing no lamb at all. Of 30 samples tested in Birmingham, 16 – more than half – contained other meat. London, meat in eight of the samples was not pure lamb.

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