Warwickshire trading standards: ‘ham and cheese’ pizzas did not contain ham or cheese

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Cheese that was actually non-dairy fat oil and ham that was really turkey or chicken were just two problems identified with takeaway pizzas examined by Warwickshire County Council Trading Standards.

Trading Standards Officers purchased 40 pizzas from small/independent takeaways across Warwickshire and had their toppings tested to see if the ingredients correctly matched with the descriptions on the menus.

Problems were identified with 25% of the pizzas examined.

Five pizzas that were described as containing cheese actually contained ‘analogue cheese’, a non-diairy fat/oil substitute. One Mozzarella pizza also contained only 20% Mozzarella, with the remaining cheese being just cheddar.

Five pizzas also failed because they did not contain the meat products they were described as having.

One Hawaiian ham and pineapple pizza for example contained no ham at all. The ham had been substituted for a product called ‘turkey ham’ (a processed food made primarily from cooked or cured turkey meat and water, formed into the shape of ham).

Some pepperoni pizza toppings were beef or chicken instead of pork.Enforcement action resulted in one formal caution and several warning letters being issued to the businesses visited.

Warwickshire County Councillor John Horner, Portfolio Holder for Community Safety said: “Consumers often pay a premium for take-away products and should be able to have confidence that the foods they buy and consume are correctly described.”

Warwickshire County Councillor Philip Johnson, Chair of the council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee added: “Trading Standards Officers have now advised all the businesses where problems were found to ensure they are getting it right.”

Warwickshire residents wishing to make a complaint about products they purchase can do so by contacting Warwickshire Trading Standards via the Citizens Consumer Advice Helpline on 03454 04 05 06.

More consumer advice is available online here: www.warwickshire.gov.uk/consumersafety