Mystery as butcher withdraws cooked meats

A leading North-West London butcher has been forced to withdraw cooked meats from its shelves for several weeks, but the reason remains unclear.

The Meat Hygiene Service, part of the government’s Food Standards Agency, issued a remedial-action notice to the Kosher Delicatessen chain, which has shops in Temple Fortune, Golders Green and Edgware and a production factory in Cricklewood. As a result, thousands of pounds worth of cooked meats were cleared from its shelves.

In a statement, the MHS said it had issued a “remedial-action notice that resulted in the suspension of two production lines at Kosher Delicatessen UK Ltd. One of these production lines has since reopened. As a precautionary measure, Kosher Delicatessen UK Ltd has recalled from sale products manufactured on both lines.”

The statement added that the company was “co-operating fully”.

Kosher Deli owner Albert Bendahan told the JC this week that all cooked meats had now returned to normal production. But he did not know why he had been told to withdraw products.

“We have not had definitive results from the tests yet. The Meat Hygiene Service is in the production plant all the time constantly checking us and there are regular assessments. Once there is a problem, we have to test every single item in the laboratories. We have now started examining outside sources such as packaging and spices to try to trace the problem. But I would stress that everything is back to normal.”

It was not clear whether this was part of a continuing investigation by Barnet Council into the discovery of sulphur dioxide in minced steak. This can be used legally in burgers and sausages but not in fresh meat. Mr Bendahan maintained the substance occurred naturally as a result of koshering.

    Last updated: 3:33pm, July 22 2009