NSW Food Authority takes the chop to dodgy butcher
A Sydney butcher who falsely described the species of meat in their minced meat and used illegal additives that is known to make the meat look more appealing, has been fined $8,000 and ordered to pay the prosecutor’s costs after pleading guilty in the Parramatta Local Court.
Walli Asr Halal Butcher Shop Pty Ltd in Merrylands in western Sydney was convicted of four offences under the NSW Food Act 2003 including two charges of using sulphur dioxide (SO2) in minced meat and two charges of the false description of meat species.
Dr Lisa Szabo, CEO of the NSW Food Authority said the addition of the SO2 preservative can be used to disguise old or inferior meat.
“SO2 can make meat appear redder, brighter and fresher to consumers, it is not permissible in any level in minced meat,” Dr Szabo said.
“Not only is this deceptive it can also present a very real danger for people who are allergic to the chemical.”
In addition to the use of the illegal additive, NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Biosecurity and Food Safety compliance officer found that the business was selling mince separately labelled as ‘Beef Mince’ and ‘Lamb Mince’, but the mince was not entirely beef or lamb, it was in fact a mix of both lamb and beef.
“Similarly, this is an unacceptable and illegal practice,” Dr Szabo said.
“Consumers have the right to know they’re getting what they asked for and what they paid for.
“The court’s decision is a welcome outcome and serves as a stern reminder to those who flout food safety laws.”
Dr Szabo said the NSW Food Authority routinely inspect licensed butcher shops for safety and hygiene and test for sulphur dioxide in meat.
“Poor food safety standards will not be tolerated; this Government takes the health and safety of the consumers of NSW very seriously,” she said.
“The NSW Food Authority works closely with the industry to ensure they are informed, educated and supported in achieving compliance.
“While the vast majority of licensed operators do the right thing, it takes just one dodgy operator to put the community at risk of foodborne illness, which can have a devastating impact.”
Details of the prosecution will be added to the NSW Food Authority’s Name and Shame register that is available for public viewing at www.foodauthority.nsw.gov.au