Food fraud lands big fines for butchers

Posted by Isobel Drake on 16th December 2008

Two Western Sydney butchers have copped fines totalling more than $15,500 for attempting to rip off consumers by disguising sub-standard meat, Primary Industries Minister Ian Macdonald said today.The NSW Food Authority has won prosecutions against the two butchers totalling nine breaches for illegally “dosing” meat with the preservative sulphur dioxide (SO2).

“This chemical is used to mask old or poor quality meat to make it look redder and more appealing to consumers, but the practice is illegal and potentially a health risk,” Mr Macdonald advised.

“Not only is this practice deceptive but also dangerous, causing adverse reactions in people who are sensitive or allergic to this chemical.”

Sadik Brothers Butchery in Auburn was fined $11,550 for six dosing offences, while Teng Cheng Butchery in Lakemba received a $3,993 fine for three breaches.

“The Auburn incident is particularly worrying because it involved two separate inspections by the Food Authority only a month apart,” Minister Macdonald reported. “On each occasion they found dosed lamb, mutton and beef products.”

“The State Government will not tolerate this sort of fraudulent and dangerous practice and will come down hard on dishonest businesses that disregard food laws that protect consumers’ health and prevent them from being ripped off,” he added. “The good news is only a very small minority of businesses are engaging in this illegal practice and those few food businesses that do engage in this practice will be caught by Food Authority inspectors, prosecuted to the full extent of the law and end up on the Government’s shame list.”

Details of the two prosecutions have been added to the Food Authority website, bringing the total to 25 for serious food law offences.