Farm shops and butchers face a crackdown after rogue traders were exposed selling fake organic meat to unsuspecting customers.

A six-month investigation by ITV’s West Eye View uncovered butchers in Dorset and Devon illegally selling conventional meat as organic. The programme was screened on Tuesday (16 May).

Principal environmental health officer Michael Eade said:

“If you’re an unscrupulous trader, then there’s a temptation to commit fraud and it’s very easy in the meat industry as well.”

As a result of the programme, the Soil Association – Britain’s biggest organic watchdog – immediately launched an investigation into the alleged processing and selling of meat products without the necessary licence.

In a statement, the association said it was paramount to maintain public trust in organic farming methods and to protect organic producers from unscrupulous traders seeking to put profits before proper practice.

It warned that traders who failed to comply with the association’s rules would see their licences terminated and said it wanted a “roving inspector” to help trading standards officials expose fraud.