Is sulfur dioxide better than saltpeter? Sydney butcher prosecuted for illegal additives in meat

A Sydney butcher who used illegal additives to make meat appear more appealing has been fined over $9,000 by the Chief Industrial Magistrates Court, relating to four offences under the New South Wales NSW Food Act.

Mr Craig Sahlin, Acting CEO of the NSW Food Authority, welcomed the result and said the court’s decision to fine Abdul Hassan, trading as Green Valley Halal Meats a total of $9,000 plus costs was a stern reminder to those who flout food safety laws.

“NSW consumers have every right to expect that the food they buy is safe,” Mr Sahlin said.

“Illegal and excessive use of preservatives in food will not be tolerated. The NSW Food Authority is diligent in its investigation and enforcement to ensure food products are safe and that consumers are protected.”

An officer from the NSW Authority visited Green Valley Halal Meats in May 2011 following a complaint made by a consumer who had suffered an asthmatic reaction as a result of eating meat sold by the butcher.

Samples of diced meat obtained from the Green Valley premises were found to contain the illegal preservative sulfur dioxide (SO2) which is often used to disguise old or inferior meat. Sausages and sausage meat product also found at the premises were found to contain SO2 well in excess of the permitted level for sausages.

“The addition of sulfur dioxide to meat can make it appear redder, brighter and fresher to consumers,” Mr Sahlin said.

“Not only is this deceptive it can also present a very real danger for people who are allergic to the chemical, such as people who suffer from asthma.”

Abdul Hassan was previously fined for one offence under the NSW Food Act for adding SO2 to minced meat.

“This is a clear message to those few operators who continue to do the wrong thing – you will be found out.”