Illegal meat fat destroyed

A haul of illegal Chinese meat fat destined for restaurants and takeaways across the North-East has been seized by the Food Standards Agency.

The beef fat had been imported into Britain from China and was being stored at a warehouse used by an Oriental food wholesaler.

Officers from Northumberland County Council discovered the pallet-and-a-half of the product - a key ingredient in battered Dim Sum dishes - during a routine inspection of the wholesalers premises.

They alerted the FSA which ordered the fat's immediate destruction.

Jim Rutter is head of Northumberland trading standards department. "Animal by-products from China are subject to strict protective measures," he said. "Because of the potential danger of disease or contamination we took no chances."

Both agencies are refusing to name the wholesaler, but confirmed the company was unable to provide evidence the £4,500 of beef fat had been tested and certified against EU-banned antibiotics and chemicals.