Forge Farm Meats, based in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, has been ordered to pay more than £8,000 in fines and costs after meat they supplied to two West Sussex butchers was found to be sheep.
The company pleaded guilty to two offences under the Food Safety Act for supplying misrepresented goat legs to two butchers.
Some of the meat tested traced back to a Spanish cutting plant and information from the investigation has been shared with the Food Standards Agency and Spanish authorities.
Peter Aston, West Sussex Trading Standards team manager, said traceability and correct labelling is vital as butchered goat meat is very difficult to tell apart from mutton or lamb.
“So far our investigations into this fraud have led to two West Sussex butchers receiving cautions and a meat supplier to the catering industry receiving a warning letter.”
Following a customer complaint, West Sussex Trading Standards officers purchased 11 goat samples from West Sussex butchers and restaurants. Eight were found to be sheep meat.
Investigations are ongoing to ensure all businesses involved no longer sell falsely described meat.
David Barling, West Sussex County Council’s cabinet member for residents’ services, said: “Not only were consumers misled by this dishonest act but so were the local businesses involved, who purchased the meat in good faith.
“This sentencing serves as a reminder to those that are involved in falsely advertising and selling produce that we will find out and we will make sure enforcement action is taken against you.”