LONDON, July 25 (UPI) -- Culinary experts have confirmed a caviar black market is operating in Britain, offering restaurants discounts on illegally smuggled goods.
BBC food presenter Paul Merritt confirmed he had been offered the discount caviar by members of the smuggling ring in the past, but the illegal goods never reached the quality of their legal counterparts, The Independent reported Wednesday.
"Three or four people would ring up and say, 'I've got some caviar. Would you like some now?' -- just like you would if you had someone calling up and saying, 'I've got a few dodgy stereos,'" he said. "I had no idea how they would be getting the eggs, and it's not the same quality as legal caviar."
The report comes as new government regulations take effect, intended to sanction the caviar industry.
The new measures include prison sentences for those smuggling caviar from areas like the Caspian Sea and additional registration measures in the industry, including specialized government labels for all caviar products.