Tests In UK Reveal One-Third Of Products Are Mislabeled

Consumers are being sold drinks with banned flame-retardant additives, pork in beef, and fake cheese according to laboratory tests.

A startling study done by authorities in West Yorkshire in the United Kingdom has found that consumers are being sold food including mozzarella that is less than half real cheese, ham on pizzas that is either poultry or "meat emulsion", and frozen prawns that are 50 percent water, according to tests by the public laboratory. The checks on hundreds of food samples, which were taken in West Yorkshire restaurants, retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers, revealed that more than a third were not what they claimed to be, or were mislabeled in some way.

Food safety experts said they fear the alarming findings from 38 percent of 900 sample tests by West Yorkshire councils were representative of the picture nationally, with the public at increasing risk as budgets to detect fake or mislabeled foods plummet.

Testers also discovered beef mince adulterated with pork or poultry, an herbal slimming tea that was neither herb nor tea but glucose powder laced with a withdrawn prescription drug for obesity at 13 times the normal dose. A third of fruit juices sampled were not what they claimed or had labeling errors , and two additives that are not permitted in the EU, including brominated vegetable oil which is designed for use in flame retardants and linked to behavioral problems in rats at high doses, were found in the tests.

"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," said West Yorkshire's public analyst Dr. Duncan Campbell.

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