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Yorkshire samples show worrying levels of food contamination

Yorkshire samples show worrying levels of food contamination

Food sample tests carried out in West Yorkshire have revealed that a number of popular products do not contain all the ingredients they are meant to.

Hundreds of samples were taken from a variety of foods, including ham, cheese, prawns and pizza, with some worrying results.

Out of 900 samples, 38 per cent were found to be mislabelled or contained something not usually expected to be in that particular product, the Guardian reported.

For example, brominated vegetable oil - which has been banned by the European Union and is often used in flame retardants - has been found in some fruit juices. The additive has been known to cause behavioural problems in rats and the effects on humans are not yet known.

When pizzas were tested, some ham was found to feature samples of different meats, while cheese sometimes contained no dairy, just vegetable oil. Mozzarella was made of less than 50 per cent real cheese, while beef mince had been contaminated with pork and poultry. Prawns were found to be mainly water, not seafood.

A herbal tea advertised as a slimming aid was found to contain neither herbs nor tea, but a mix of glucose powder and obesity prescription drugs, at 13 times the safe dose.

Encouragingly, no horsemeat was found after last year's scandal, but numerous mince samples and diced meat contained traces of other animals.

Despite these findings, budgets for food standards tests are set to be significantly cut, meaning that authorities and consumers may remain ignorant about what is actually in their food.

Public analyst for West Yorkshire 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."

Although these results only relate to West Yorkshire food samples, it is thought they could be representative of elsewhere in the country too, suggesting that there is a major problem with food fraud and regular mislabelling.


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