Croquettes containing half the quantity of meat declared on the label, sulphites used to make minced beef look fresher and chicken sold as veal in kebabs are but a few of the deceptive practices unveiled in a new report.
The European Consumer Organisation, known as BEUC, released the new report “Close-up on the meat we eat – Consumers want honest labels”, revealing the dishonesty in some meat labelling.
Consumers have no option but to rely on food labels to help inform them in their purchasing decisions.
However, are labels telling them the truth about what meat-based products such as burgers, sausages and pork satay are really made of?
Based on tests carried out by seven BEUC member organisations over the past months, the report reveals meat-based foods might not always live up to consumers’ expectations, when labels are not deliberately misleading them.
Monique Goyens, BEUC’s Director General, commented: “Consumers should be able to trust the label on the food they buy. If we are serious about rebuilding confidence in meat, EU Member States need to beef up controls and make sure labels are complete and accurate.
“Those purchasing fresh beef made to look as if it is 100 per cent meat may feel deceived to discover additives in the ingredient list.
“Also, consumers buying roast pork or grilled sausages should know from the label how much meat they really contain. No one wants to buy water for the price of meat.”
BEUC has issued several recommendations including checks on additives used in meat-based products must be stepped up and cracking down on food fraud must remain high on the EU agenda.