We’ve been investigating which meat products offer the best value for money per kilo of meat. But some labelling of products sold on deli counters is at risk – do you want to know exactly what you’re getting?
In the July issue of Which? magazine we’re investigating the true cost of meat products like sausages and burgers.
Apart from brands such as Richmond, Wall’s and Bird’s Eye, we found that the meat content increases the more you paid for a product. Not too surprising really. We also found that there are restrictions about what body parts of the animal can be used and what counts as meat (and the levels of fat and connective tissue this meat can contain).
This will surprise the six in 10 UK adults who thought that manufacturers could use all parts of the animal in meat products.
Do you read the label?
In our new survey, eight in 10 of you told us that you check the ingredients and meat content on labelling. However, proposed government changes could weaken the level of protection offered to consumers. The government in England is proposing to scrap rules around giving the full name of the food and the Qualitative Ingredients Declarations (QUID) on meat products sold loose.
If these changes go ahead meat products sold loose (as in not pre-packed), such as ham for example, wouldn’t have to label the meat content or how much water the product contained. This would apply to meat being sold at the butcher, on a supermarket meat counter, in a deli or farmers’ market, etc.
For example, if there were three similar sausages, you wouldn’t know that one contained 60% meat, another 85% meat and the other 97% meat. So you wouldn’t be able to work out which you would prefer or which offered better value for money.
We oppose decriminalising violations
Currently, non-compliance with the meat and food information regulations is a criminal offence carrying a maximum penalty of £5000. However, the governments in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are proposing to decriminalise food-labelling violations.
Which? opposes these proposed changes. They send a message that food fraud and misleading labelling will not be taken seriously and might encourage more unscrupulous traders to try their luck in making a fast buck.
Do you think the government is doing enough to protect the public from food fraud?