'Fake food': mislabelled drinks, meat and cheese found by West Yorkshire laboratory

The public laboratory said it was concerned its findings were part of a larger national trend

Shoppers are allegedly at risk of buying food “fake food,” including ham on pizza that is “meat emulsion” or poultry, prawns that are 50 per cent water, and fruit juice containing additives not permitted in the EU.

The results found by a council laboratory in West Yorkshire and shown to the Guardian newspaper, claim to reveal that almost 40% of 900 food samples were not what they were advertised, or were mislabelled in some way.

The tests were part of a general surveillance programme by the local authority, and as part of checks focusing on products prone to being counterfeited. 

Among the reported discoveries was herbal slimming tea containing neither tea nor herbs, but rather glucose powder mixed with prescription obesity medication at 13 times the normal dose; and beef mince that allegedly contained pork or poultry products.

The illegal additives claimed to have been found in juices included brominated vegetable oil, which is meant to be used as a flame retardant and is linked to behavioural problems in rats at high doses.

The experts told the newspaper that they are concerned the 900 samples were likely to be indicative of national trends at large, as budget cuts increase the risk that mislabelled or fake food will be left unidentified by council-run labs.

“Fake” vodka allegedly sold at news agents was flagged up as a major problem, with several samples failing to meet the percentage of alcohol that defines the spirit. In one severe test case, results apparently showing the product labelled as vodka was in fact made from isopropanol, used in antifreeze and as an industrial solvent.

The samples were anonymised to ensure the testing was scientific and unbiased, so it was not revealed which products were “fake”. However, the products were taken from a wide range out outlet, including fast-food restaurants, independent retailers, and larger stores and manufacturers.

West Yorkshire's public analyst, Dr Duncan Campbell, told the Guardian: “We are routinely finding problems with more than a third of samples, which is disturbing at a time when the budget for food standards inspection and analysis is being cut.”

Among the common problems reportedly detected were mincing machines not being cleaned properly , as well as blatant substitutions for cheaper meat. Ham was often made using poultry that was coloured pink in the production process.

The findings come following the horse meat scandal last year,  when horse DNA was found in meat labelled as beef, and was partly blamed on a difficult-to-trace chain of factories across Europe.

Richard Lloyd, executive director of Which?, told the Guardian: "No one wants to see another incident like the horsemeat scandal happen again and the rigorous enforcement of standards underpinned by effective levels of food testing is essential for restoring consumers' trust in this industry."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appeal
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Sport
Ched Evans in action for Sheffield United in 2012
footballRonnie Moore says 'he's served his time and the boy wants to play football'
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
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.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick