A restaurant is under investigation after animal DNA was found in a dish that was marked as vegan-friendly…
Two dishes from the Imperial Garden in Plymouth were sent to environmental health officers by a customer who was concerned that meat had somehow made its way into the meals – which are meant to be completely free from any animal derived products.
Martin King ordered a vegan chicken curry off the extensive vegan menu from the Ebrington Street takeaway, The Plymouth Herald reports. But when he was around three quarters of the way through, he claims he discovered a piece of pork in the vegan meal.
He sent a message to the Imperial Garden on Facebook to explain his discovery and decided to give the benefit of the doubt to the business by re-ordering another meal a couple of weeks later.
Martin, who became a vegan overnight after years of being a meat eater, said: “I used to order from the Imperial Garden every Friday for months until I found the piece of pig flesh in it.
“After two weeks’ abstinence I gave them the benefit of the doubt, only to again find something dodgy, so the whole thing was taken away by environmental health. I was put right off and when I found out it I was being fed animal products it made me feel disgusting to be fair.”
Tests confirm the dish did contain animal DNA
After getting in touch with the Food Standards Agency who referred him to Plymouth City Council’s (PCC) environmental health department, Martin’s food came back showing that it did contain animal DNA.
An environmental health officer for PCC said:
“I can confirm that we have received the results back from the public analyst for the second vegan chicken curry purchased from the Imperial Garden Chinese Restaurant, that you brought to our attention because you were concerned it contained real chicken. I can confirm that the analyst has indicated that the food did contain animal DNA. However, it is not stated what the animal product is, nor the quantity so it cannot be confirmed to be chicken.
During this investigation, I was provided with a label for the chicken product that is used to make the vegan chicken curry. This label stated that the food contained milk. The product label referred to the product as ‘veggie’ chicken, in which case it is not being sold to the restaurant as vegan. The owner of the business advised that the label was provided (to environmental health) by mistake. Because of this result, there is still some further investigation required before any decisions can be made as to what action may be pursued. The owner of the business has been advised of the result.”
Restaurant invite environmental health to conduct further tests
The restaurant, where the dishes were made, insists that to their knowledge no meat came in contact with the food and they have since invited the environment health officer back to the restaurant to take further samples.
The manager of the Imperial Garden, Li Zhuang, said she has never had a problem with the vegan menu until now.
“We have been serving vegan food for two years as a lot of customers were vegan and there was a lot of demand. When we were told a piece of meat had been found in a vegan curry I checked with the chef about the dish who said the dish was definitely checked and that nothing had fallen in.
“The image which was sent looked like a piece of raw food and was very clean – if the meat had dropped in by accident it would have been cooked in together – it would have been a yellow stained meat [from the cooking] if so, and we are very confused about this. We use a clean wok and spoon separate from the meat to cook the food and we have one chef who does all of the vegan dishes. We always check out ingredients are suitable for vegans and obviously our customers are very important to us.
“We have invited environmental health in to take away more samples for testing and if these come back showing cross contamination then we will accept that, but we can’t accept this if it is one person who has taken it [the meal] away. It is upsetting to hear this has happened.”
Source: Cornwall Live.