28/Aug/2014 - Last News Update: 09:01

Takeaway dishes high in illegal colourings, says study

Category: England

Published: 3rd Sep 2011 01:18:50

Two of the nation's favourite Indian and Chinese takeaway dishes can contain illegally high levels of certain colourings, a snapshot study suggests.

High levels of salt and saturated fat were also detected in chicken tikka masala and sweet and sour chicken meals at 223 takeaways in England and Wales.

And the Local Government Group study says that when nut-free chicken tikkas were ordered, 20% still contained nuts.

The Department of Health said labelling was key.

The analysis of 90 Indian takeaways was based on a portion of chicken tikka masala and pilau rice.

The Food Standards Agency has called for a voluntary ban on artificial colourings including sunset yellow (E110), allura red (E129), tartrazine (E102) and ponceau 4R (E124) because of their reported link to hyperactivity in some children.

When the sauces from 25 of the meals were tested for the colourings, five of the dishes were found to contain levels above the permitted maximum of 500mg/kg allowed under current food regulations.

The study also found that the Indian meals contained 116% of an individual's daily recommended saturated fat intake and 92% of their salt intake.

A similar analysis of sweet and sour chicken and fried rice from 133 Chinese takeaways discovered that the dish contained 119% of the recommended daily salt intake and 16 teaspoons of sugar, 75% of the recommended daily limit.

Eating too much salt is linked to high blood pressure, which can also increase the risk of developing heart disease.

Recommended dietary salt levels vary with age. Adults are recommended to have no more than 6g of salt per day in their diet, while toddlers should have no more than 2g.

Analysis of 11 sauces of the sweet and sour chicken meals found one contained illegally high levels of the colourings.

When buying some of the chicken tikka masala meals, it was stressed that the customer had a nut allergy.

Despite this, one in five of these takeaways contained peanuts or almonds without any warnings being provided. Just a small amount of nuts can be fatal for someone with a severe allergy.

There are many ways to make takeaways more healthy such as using lower fat oils, natural colourings and reducing salt. ”

The Local Government Association said local authorities should work with "ethnic kitchens" to make sure false information was not provided when customers requested a meal which does not contain nuts.

On two occasions the meat found in sweet and sour chicken meals was actually turkey.

Pre-packaged meals sold in shops are required to carry details of artificial colourings.

A spokesman from the Department of Health said there are plans to give takeaway outlets guidelines on how to label their products.

"The government's Responsibility Deal includes actions that can be taken by restaurants and takeaways, for example by providing calorie information for food and drink.

"Whilst this work has to date focused on larger, chain restaurants, guidance for smaller businesses will be produced in due course. This will help maximise the opportunities for people to see, and use, calorie labelling."

Councillor Paul Bettison, chairman of the Local Government Regulation Board which carried out the study of takeaway meals, said that the high levels of fat, salt and sugar in them were "truly shocking and unnecessary".

"There's no excuse for illegal amounts of colouring and as for secretly using a cheaper type of meat, that's just shamefully ripping off customers. And including nuts when you've been told a person suffers from a nut allergy is unforgivable, it could potentially kill them.

"There are many ways to make takeaways more healthy such as using lower fat oils, natural colourings and reducing salt. These needn't compromise taste and promoting such a healthy approach often attracts customers who're keen to watch their waistline or their blood pressure."

Source:
BBC News External Link Show Citation

Latest News

Harvard Citation

BBC News, 2011. Takeaway dishes high in illegal colourings, says study [Online] (Updated 3rd Sep 2011)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/182844/Takeaway-dishes-high-in-illegal-colourings-says-study [Accessed 28th Aug 2014]

News In Other Categories

  • Edinburgh involvement in new virtual reality device

    A Scottish company is involved in the creation of a virtual reality device to compete with products such as Oculus Rift and Sony's Project Morpheus.
  • Gary Hart: Former US Senator to meet Northern Ireland parties

    Former US Senator Gary Hart will meet representatives of the Stormont Executive parties later as part of a fact-finding trip to Ireland.
  • White space between TV signals could save lives at sea

    The leftover white space between TV signals is raising the hope of saving lives at sea and proving broadband for remote communities.
  • Ex dental prof Philip Lamey's loses case for unfair dismissal

    A former professor of dentistry has lost his case for unfair dismissal brought against Queen's University.
  • Michael Keaton takes flight in Birdman at Venice

    Michael Keaton says playing superhero Batman has had "a profound effect" on his life as his latest movie, Birdman, opens this year's Venice Film Festival.
  • Bristol Academy extends reach overseas with first foreign students

    With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com