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From: TSS ()
Subject: Illegal meat trade is uncovered LONDON ''FRAUGHT WITH RISK. BSE RISK''
Date: March 31, 2005 at 9:17 am PST

Illegal meat trade is uncovered
Expert examining sheep
Meat sold in London was found to be "unfit for human consumption"

Some butchers in south London are trading in illegal meat which could
cause mad cow disease, a BBC Watchdog investigation has revealed.

Three shops were selling the African delicacy smokies, a carcass blow
torched with the skin and fleece on for a chargrilled flavour.

They are illegal because they are sold with the brain and spinal cord.

When confronted one butcher denied the allegation while the other
claimed not to know smokies were illegal.

The investigation, which centered around three shops, revealed that part
and whole smokies were being sold for up to £200.

Every stage of this process is not just unlawful, it's fraught with risk
Julie Barratt, Chartered Institute of Environmental Health

One butcher sold a leg, spinal column and several cuts of smokie while
another took a deposit of £60, promising to deliver a carcass in two
days time.

A third butcher, after at first being suspicious, provided a whole
smokie and two heads for £180.

The sheep are bought for as little as £10 as unfit for consumption or
are stolen, many from Wales.

Julie Barratt, from the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health,
said: "It's unfit from the start.... it's no better than pet food on legs.

"Every stage of this process is not just unlawful, it's fraught with risk.

'BSE risk'

"From the illegal movement of animals, to their being killed unlawfully,
the illegal sale of them with the risks of cross contamination and unfit
meat entering into the food chain.

"All those risks are risks to public health."

Dr Yunes Teinaz, Environmental Health officer and expert in illegal
meat, examined a carcass obtained by Watchdog.

He said the sheep was very old and posed a "theoretical risk of BSE".

Dr Teinaz said the animal was a Welsh breed which was emaciated and "not
fit for human consumption".


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