Pizza horror - ‘substitute’ ingredients exposed in tests

A takeaway pizzas
A takeaway pizzas
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Scores of takeaways have been selling customers pizzas containing “fake cheese”, or meat toppings with other “species”, it was revealed today.

Every single takeaway inspected in the food sampling operation by Lancashire Trading Standards failed.

CHEESED OFF: Paul Noone, of Lancashire Trading Standards

CHEESED OFF: Paul Noone, of Lancashire Trading Standards

Officers visited 20 outlets in the county - eight in Preston and Chorley - and performed tests on ingredients used in hundreds of pizzas sold to customers.

Each premises failed on descriptions of the ham, cheese, or both.

Trading Standards said the misdescription of cheese on pizza slices by one well known national retailer was “particularly alarming”.

It revealed 19 out of 20 samples were found to contain “analogue cheese” - an artificial cheesy substance that is much quicker and cheaper to produce than real cheese.

Inspectors found 10 out of the 15 pizzas that purported to contain ham actually contained turkey DNA.

Four samples that were advertised as containing pepperoni were found to contain “species in addition to beef or pork”.

Paul Noone, head of Lancashire County Council Trading Standards, said: “We carry out regular sampling surveys throughout the year to make sure that Lancashire consumers are getting what they pay for, ensure that things like allergens are accurately labelled, to prevent someone becoming ill, and to make sure that legal standards are met.

“We tested 20 takeaways across Lancashire to check that the ingredients used in their pizzas matched those on the descriptions.

“However, we found that substitutes for things like cheese, ham and pepperoni were being used.

“We’ve written to the owners telling them they must correctly describe the ingredients they use in their pizzas.

“Our next step will be to work closely with takeaway owners and wholesalers to ensure everyone understands how products should be labelled. We will also carry out resampling in the future to make sure the businesses are compliant.

Weeks earlier the team sampled 17 other takeaways selling kebabs, burgers, and pies and found lamb products which didn’t contain sheep meat.