YOU think you are doing your bit for your local farmer and the environment by opting for a Hampshire ham or a county cheese.

But a crackdown on “local” food has uncovered the shocking truth about what is being served in some of our pubs and restaurants.

What you might think is a tasty slice of Hampshire spring lamb may in fact have jetted in from as far away as New Zealand.

Pubs, restaurants and butchers across Hampshire have come under fire from trading standards bosses after more than one in four of those targeted were found to be making false claims about where their food came from.

Over the past three months officers checked 50 different dishes and products at 30 premises to find one in four marketed or sold as Hampshire-made were anything but.

Despite claims of being home-reared, lamb, beef, pork and cheeses were sourced from outside the county, such as Wales, Scotland and Devon.

One Fareham restaurant was caught selling “Hampshire spring lamb” when it had actually flown thousands of miles from New Zealand.

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County council bosses have refused to name and shame the businesses caught red-handed which are now working with trading standards to improve their labelling.

Buying locally provides sustainable business to communities with studies showing that every £10 spent locally creates more than twice the amount for the local economy.

Tim Brock, manager of Hampshire Fare, told the Daily Echo he was disappointed businesses were lying about their produce, when so many are going that extra mile to ensure local produce.

He said: “It is unfair for restaurants and pubs just to say they have local food when they haven’t because those who source local food put a lot of effort into making sure it’s local.

“We very much welcome this crackdown by trading standards because people cannot be allowed to just lie to consumers as it belittles the work of those actually buying local.

“We would like to see everyone sourcing local produce and we are here to help them make that transition.

“We would also urge consumers to ask about the food if it claims to be local because if it is, most restaurateurs delight in telling where the food came from.”

Hampshire County Council leader Councillor Ken Thornber said: “The choice to ‘buy local’ is about more than just taste, and many consumers opt for these products in good faith, believing that they are not only supporting local farmers, producers and the Hampshire economy but also helping the environment by reducing the number of food miles from farm to fork.

“It’s therefore important that premises make it clear where they are sourcing their produce so that customers are not misled and can make an informed choice.”