Butcher gets the chop over foie gras scandal

 

Selfridges in London has parted company with its "celebrity" butcher Jack O'Shea after he was caught using a codeword to sell banned foie gras to customers under the counter.

The store announced that Mr O'Shea, who supplies many leading London restaurants and is widely regarded as one of the finest butchers around, finished trading there on Thursday.

Selfridges banned the sale of foie gras in 2009 under intense pressure from animal rights acitivists, led by the former James Bond actor Sir Roger Moore.

Production of the foodstuff, made from goose livers that have become enlarged through force-feeding, is banned in the UK, but many retailers still stock it. Mr O'Shea's knowing customers had been asking him for "French fillet" until a customer spotted what was going on and complained. Packets of the delicacy weighing 795g were being sold for £39.40.

A member of Selfridges staff admitted to an undercover reporter attempting to buy the product that it was against Selfridges policy and that they "only get it in at Christmas time".

Mr O'Shea was eventually led out of the shop on Christmas Eve, in front of customers. Campaigners who had fought hard for Selfridges to impose the ban accused him of a "shocking betrayal".

Mr O'Shea had received a stern warning at the time, but the retailer has cited several further reasons why his contract has now been terminated.

Among them were "risks of cross-contamination between raw and cooked meat, issues around labelling and sell-by dates, inconsistent and failing food handling procedures and failing housekeeping standards".

A spokesman for Selfridges said the store had been working closely with Mr O'Shea to address these issues since October last year, two months before the foie gras incident came to light. A programme had been designed to address the "particular failings" of Mr O'Shea's business within Selfridges, "to meet the food hall's own standards".

Mr O'Shea has had a stall in the Selfridges food hall since November 2008 and has sold to more than 200,000 customers. But the programme evidently did not succeed.

Ewan Venters, Director of Food & Restaurants for Selfridges, said: "It is regrettable that we had to part company with Jack O'Shea. But if anyone puts the store's five-star health rating in jeopardy, they can no longer be part of our business – it is as simple as that."

Mr O'Shea, who also has a shop in Brussels, could not be reached for comment last night, but he is unlikely to have been surprised by the news.

When he was removed from the store on Christmas Eve he remained defiant. "I will probably lose my business over it but I couldn't give a damn. My conscience is clear," he said. "Stuffing a goose with grain is like stuffing me with Guinness. It has been totally blown out of proportion."

Sport
football This was Kane’s night, even if he played just a small part of it
Travel
travel Dreamland Margate, Britain’s oldest amusement park, is set to reopen
News
news
News
Founders James Brown and Tim Southwell with a mock-up of the first ever ‘Loaded’ magazine in 1994
media
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
News
Threlfall says: 'I am a guardian of the reality keys. I think I drive directors nuts'
people
Voices
voices The group has just unveiled a billion dollar plan to help nurse the British countryside back to health
News
The Westgate, a gay pub in the centre of Gloucester which played host to drag queens, has closed
news
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    SFL Group: Video Project Manager

    £24,000 pa, plus benefits: SFL Group: Looking for a hard-working and self-moti...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Reservations Assistant - French Speaking

    £16000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding travel c...

    Recruitment Genius: Duty Manager - World-Famous London Museum

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Do you have a strong record of ...

    Recruitment Genius: Personal Assistant

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will have demonstrable unde...

    Day In a Page

    The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

    The saffron censorship that governs India

    Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
    Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

    How did fandom get so dark?

    Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
    The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
    The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

    Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

    Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
    Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

    Disney's mega money-making formula

    'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
    Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

    Lobster has gone mainstream

    Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
    Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

    14 best Easter decorations

    Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
    Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

    Paul Scholes column

    Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
    Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

    The future of GM

    The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
    Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

    Britain's mild winters could be numbered

    Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
    Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

    The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

    The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
    Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

    Cowslips vs honeysuckle

    It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
    Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss