Trading Standards Officers bought 40 pizzas from small/independent takeaways across the county.
Toppings were tested to see if ingredients matched descriptions on the menus. Problems were identified with 25% of pizzas examined.
John Horner, Warwickshire County councillor, with responsibility for community safety said: “Consumers often pay a premium for takeaway products and should be able to have confidence that the foods they buy and consume are correctly described.”
Five pizzas described as containing cheese had ‘analogue cheese’, a non-dairy fat/oil substitute. One Mozzarella pizza also contained only 20% Mozzarella with remaining cheese being cheddar.
One Hawaiian ham and pineapple pizza contained no ham. The ham was substituted for ‘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.
One formal caution and several warning letters were issued to the businesses visited.
Adrian Simpson, from the Chartered Trading Standards Institute, warned legislation is changing and food businesses need to be aware of their responsibilities.
“By trying to save a few quid ‘fakeaway’ bosses are breaking the law and putting people’s health at risk, it’s simply not worth it. Businesses that know their responsibilities and comply with the law deliver better customer service and earn an enhanced reputation, and that’s good for business.”
Simpson said from December nutritional labelling will be compulsory on all pre-packaged food and urged businesses to familiarise themselves with the new law.
Food businesses are already required to provide allergy information on food sold unpackaged, in catering outlets, deli counters, bakeries and sandwich bars.