A man accused of being involved in the sale of turkey labelled as halal lamb said he ‘knows the difference between lamb and cow.’
Dutch Bangla Direct Ltd, based in Peterborough, supplied dozens of restaurants throughout Leicestershire.
A Trading Standards investigation found evidence of alleged fraud between 2013 and 2014
On trial are Anwarul Hoque (56) and his son, Mohammed Zunaid Hoque (25), both of Uplands Road, Oadby, Kamal Rahman (54), of Derby Drive, Peterborough and Mahmudur Rohman (46), of Rothbart Way, Peterborough.
Kevin Barry, prosecuting on behalf of trading standards, said the men claim there was never any attempt to defraud customers.
Between October 2012 and November 2014 the company allegedly imported 116 tonnes of turkey, mainly from Germany, paying between £1 and £1.50 per kilo which was sold on as lamb for between £4.75 and £7 a kilo.
The alleged fraud came to light during an investigation into the then recent national horse meat scandal – and food tests discovered turkey DNA in dishes that were supposed to be lamb.
The court was told in interview with Trading Standards, Rahman said: “I’m a chef myself also and I know if someone brings me two pieces of meat, I can tell which one’s cow and which one’s lamb.”
During the interview he was also asked about payments he made to Dutch Bangla. He said he bought meat from the company and also worked for it.
He said: “I think I bought some lamb, some chicken, some turkey. “I’m more involved in community work. I only go when they need me and they’re stuck on something.”
The court has heard the estimated turnover was between £500,000 an £800,000.
As well as the conspiracy allegation, all four deny selling food which was not the substance demanded by the customer and selling food labelled with a false description.
Rahman also denies intending to pervert the course of justice
Rohman, Hoque and Hoque deny five counts of Food Safety Act breaches.
Rohman denies forgery, possessing an article for use in fraud, selling food with a false description, failing to have in place adequate systems and procedures to provide food traceability to the authorities and failing to notify the authorities of premises where food production, processing or distribution was taking place.
Anwarul Hoque denies possessing a false halal certificate for the use of fraud.
The trial continues.