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Westminster Council to crack down on illegal caviar traders

12 March 2008 by

Westminster Council has announced a crackdown on the illegal caviar traders that are forcing sturgeon and paddlefish to the brink of extinction.

The council has started an education campaign to inform restaurants on how to discern legal caviar from unlawful versions.

Companies are also being warned that those engaged in illegal activity will have their caviar seized and may be prosecuted.

The local authority's Food Safety Team is carrying out investigations in conjunction with the National Wildlife Crime Unit and The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

The first step of the campaign saw the production and distribution of the leaflet, Do you know your caviar? which was sent to more than 350 food operators, mainly in the West End and Mayfair.

The next phase will see Environmental Health Officers carry out random checks on food operators that were sent the leaflet, making sure that it has been received and understood.

Shelves, kitchens and stock rooms will be also inspected for illegally produced and imported caviar.

Businesses selling caviar that claim to have not received the leaflet will be given new ones. Dependent on the extent and seriousness of any offences discovered, wrongdoers may receive warnings, revisits or could even face prosecution by the authorities involved.

Westminster councillor Audrey Lewis said: "Through this campaign, we are urging businesses to be sensible and cut the demand for black market caviar thus conserving a wonderful fish."

Restaurateurs selling illegal caviar face prison >>

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By Daniel Thomas

E-mail your comments to Daniel Thomas here.

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