Leeds takeaway fined for selling cheaper beef and claiming it was lamb

The owner of Charcoal Chicken in Harehills, Leeds has appeared in court charged with food fraud.

Charcoal Chicken on Harehills Road in Leeds
Charcoal Chicken on Harehills Road in Leeds

Mr Zaheer Afzal the owner of Charcoal Chicken at 188B Roundhay Road in Harehills appeared before Leeds Magistrates Court on Thursday October 18.

The court heard that beef was being passed off as lamb in a curry bought from the restaurant.

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A Trading Standards Officer visited Charcoal Chicken takeaway in August to undertake a food sampling exercise.

The officer purchased Lamb Masala and the sample was submitted for analysis. Testing found that the Lamb Masala sample in fact contained Beef instead of Lamb.

The business had been warned in the past by Trading Standards to ensure that all menu descriptions were accurate and not misleading and Mr Afzal tried to pass the blame to his supplier when quizzed.

During a formal interview Mr Afzal blamed his supplier for the meat substitution, however when Trading Standards took a sample of lamb meat from the supplier it was indeed lamb.

Mr Afzal was fined a total of £500 plus £1665 costs and a £50 victim surcharge having pleaded guilty to an offence under the Food Safety Act 1990.

David Lodge, head of West Yorkshire trading standards said: “This case highlights the importance of all food businesses being diligent in meeting their legal responsibilities. Consumers rightly expect to get what they pay for, this takeaway sold beef, which is a cheaper meat, when lamb was requested.

"Trading Standards will continue to take action against any businesses flouting the law.”

Councillor Pauleen Grahame who chairs committee which oversees trading standards said, “The work of Trading Standards plays an important role in Food Standards. Businesses must supply food items as requested by the purchaser. Consumers have the right to make informed choices about the food that they consume and traders cannot lawfully substitute ingredients.”

Any consumers with concerns about food fraud should report the issue to trading standards, via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline, on 03454 040506.