A fifth (20 percent) of meat samples tested in 2017 contained DNA from animals not shown on the label, according to data obtained by the BBC.
The BBC acquired the stat via a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the Food Standards Agency (FOI). The 665 results – from businesses including restaurants and supermarkets in England, Wales and Northern Ireland – showed 145 samples contained ‘unspecified’ meat – either wholly or partly.
According to the outlet, a number of samples contained the DNA of up to four animals – with meat labeled as ‘lamb’ most likely to be contaminated, and cow DNA being ‘the most commonly-found contaminant’.
An FSA spokesman told the BBC that the results were ‘not representative of the wider food industry’, adding that it was up to relevant local authorities to take the appropriate actions.
But the BBC said: “A clear picture of the wider food industry is not readily available as less than half of local authorities actually submitted meat sampling data to the United Kingdom’s Food Surveillance System – part of the FSA – in 2017.”