Over 50% of takeaway meals sampled by Newry Council have failed a dairy free allergen test.
Its environment committee heard this week the allergen results emerged following a survey of meat takeaway meals between December 1, 2022 and January 31, 2023.
The Europol and Interpol led initiative found 37 out of 63 samples failed the test for presence of milk, with one out of 17 tested showing signs of undeclared meat.
Mournes DUP rep, Henry Reilly said: “The test on milk for people who would be intolerant, showing over 50% have failed, that is incredible.
“Especially if you have young children who are lactose intolerant.
“People say sometimes, ‘what is our rates money spent on?’.
“The public needs to know that this type of work is being done.
“The professionalism of the people doing it should be really reassuring for the community.
“I guarantee you that there is nobody or very few people, a tiny percent of the people in Newry, Mourne and Down know that this really important work is being done on their behalf.”
A council officer told the chamber: “In relation to the outcome of this survey there are plans in place to work with food business to increase their awareness around providing allergen free food and making sure the necessary controls are in place.
“There is a plan to bring the relevant business together in the area to seminars in relation to allergen controls in their premises.”