Pizza shop fined for fake cheese

Magistrates have fined a Northumberland takeaway for misleading its customers.

Ace Pizza (NE) Limited, which was operating from Glenluce Court in Cramlington, pleaded guilty to four offences under the Food Safety Act 1990 for selling a ham and pineapple pizza which was not as described.

The court case follows a test purchase of a ham and pineapple pizza at the takeaway which was sent for analysis to see if the sample did contain ham and cheese as described on the menu.

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This was a follow up to an earlier sample that had also shown that substitutes for these ingredients had been used.

The results showed that the pizza contained no ham and used a cheese mix which included a substitute cheese, despite declaring it was using only mozzarella. The meat was found to be a mix of mechanically recovered and reformed turkey, used instead of ham.

The magistrates fined the company £2,000 for the offences and ordered them to pay £1,300 in costs and a victim surcharge.

Coun Dave Ledger, deputy leader of Northumberland County Council said: “Northumberland takes the mislabelling of food and ingredients seriously as it can be very dangerous, especially for people with allergies to certain products.

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“In this case people have paid for quality ingredients and been sold cheap substitutes instead. This is unacceptable and we are pleased that the magistrates have taken this issue so seriously.”

Any consumer who are concerned about the quality or descriptions of food they have bought should contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506.