Monday, April 30, 2012

What’s Really In Your Lamb Doner Kebab?



Doner kebabs may originate from a predominantly Muslim country - but Muslims who eat them in Britain may be unwittingly eating pork, a report has warned.

Undercover trading standards officers who carried out investigations into 20 restaurants and take-aways found that none of the lamb kebabs tested contained just lamb as stated - and that four of the lamb curries didn’t contain any lamb at all.

They found that suppliers were bulking out the Turkish dish with cheaper meats like pork, chicken, and beef in a bid to increase profits while customers were told they were getting 100% lamb with their pitta, salad, and chilli sauce. Some even claimed to be Halal.

Of the 19 lamb curries tested at kebab shops picked at random in Stratford upon Avon, Leamington Spa, Nuneaton and Rugby, only three contained just lamb. Most contained a mixture of lamb padded out with pork, beef or poultry.

Officers from Warwickshire County Council trading standards also found that 70% of the lamb kebabs contained high levels of artificial colouring - which can cause health problems. One kebab contained 18 times the safe level of colouring, and another was 13 times higher. 

As well as revealing how kebab shops were ripping off customers, officers said the findings would cause concern for people who don’t eat certain meats for religious or health reasons.

Warwickshire County councillor Richard Hobbs, who after checking does actually have the bizarre title 'portfolio holder for community safety', said: “Consumers rely on accurate food descriptions. Some foods are not permitted to be eaten by some religions and cultures, whilst some people may wish to avoid some foods because of allergy concerns.

“Consumers should also have the confidence that if they are buying an expensive product such as lamb, that they are not getting chicken instead, a meat that is half the price.”

It follows a nationwide study into doner kebabs by food standard officers two years ago which found "shocking" levels of saturated fat and salt, false labelling of meat and, on average, nearly 1,000 calories per doner - or half a woman's recommended daily intake.

Six of the kebabs tested contained pork. Two of these even claimed to be Halal. More than a third contained a different animal from that on the label. In 15% of the samples, undeclared beef was found, and in 12% undeclared chicken. 

:: My new book 'Down And Out In Padstow And London' about my disastrous attempt to train as a chef, including stints at Heston Blumenthal's Fat Duck, Rick Stein's and other restaurants, is available as a paperback and eBook on Amazon CLICK HERE

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