People who buy meat on the black market could be risking their health, say Trading Standards officers.
Products bought from illegitimate sources may have been poached, with the risk that the meat has not been handled hygienically and could even be contaminated by veterinary drugs.
Lancashire County Council Trading Standards and district council food safety officers have joined forces with Lancashire Constabulary’s wildlife crime officers to issue the alert in support of Operation Firecrest, a campaign to tackle rural crime such as poaching, and theft of property and fuel.
County Councillor Janice Hanson, cabinet member for public protection, said: “If you’re offered the chance to buy meat or fish and it’s not from a normal legitimate source you have to ask yourself where it’s come from.
“It may be being sold at a bargain price but is not a good deal if you consider the risks.
“Besides the obvious point that you could be supporting organised rural crime, there’s always the risk that the meat has not been handled safely, and killed hygienically or even humanely, and lead to a serious case of food poisoning.
“Poachers will also lack the skills and paperwork to tell whether the meat is fit for human consumption, with the possibility the animal was undergoing a course of drug treatment which would require a period of withdrawal before being safe to eat.” Animals at risk of poaching include livestock such as sheep, as well as game birds, wild deer and fish.
If have any information regarding the sale of meat or fish from illegitimate sources, you can speak in confidence to Lancashire Trading Standards! Service on 08454 040506.
Call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, or contact the environmental health service at your local district council.