Local beef foreign BBC claims

An investigation has claimed significant amounts of beef sold in foodservice as "local" or "British" is actually from foreign imports.

The report by the BBC carried out DNA testing at 40 food outlets in the south-west and found 20% of supposedly UK beef samples were foreign.

The Food Standards Agency said it was disappointed by the findings and called for labelling laws to be clarified.

The samples were tested by scientists at Dublin-based DNA specialists Identigen, who found that eight of the samples had the DNA of zebu cattle, animals that only exist in South America and Africa.

Farmers are now calling on restaurants to prove their claims of provenance in the same way butchers have to with raw meat.

Jilly Greed, who represents the National Beef Association in south-west England, told the BBC: "It's a great big con.

"It's pure exploitation of consumer demand for real local food - and until there's a properly audited trail through the hospitality industry, the situation is only going to get worse."