Page last updated at 23:05 GMT, Wednesday, 25 June 2008 00:05 UK

High fat level found in takeaways

Curry
High fat levels were found in curry

Campaigners have called for better labels on takeaway food after revealing massive levels of fat, salt and sugar in some of the UK's favourite dishes.

Which? magazine revealed that a woman eating a portion of curry could be consuming more than a whole day's recommended saturated fat intake.

One firm included incorrect nutritional information, claimed the testers.

The Food Standards Agency plans to work with restaurants and takeaways to reduce fat and salt levels.

Unlike at the supermarket, it's almost impossible to work out the nutritional content of a takeaway
Neil Fowler, Which?

Most people realise that fast food is not the healthiest option, but the extent of this is not always clear.

Takeaways are not legally obliged to give the nutritional content of their food.

Which? tested Indian and Chinese foods, and pizza from independent takeaways and franchises.

They found that Indian foods were generally high in fat and Chinese food could be high in sugar - one portion contained the equivalent of 19 teaspoons.

The average calorie content of these takeaways was high - 1,338 for Indian food and 1,436 for a similar-sized Chinese takeaway.

There were 23.6g of saturated fat in the Indian meal - the daily recommended intake is 20g for women and 30g for men.

Pizzas could be a healthier option, with half of a medium pizza weighing in at between 836 and 929 calories.

Fat was again high, with a thin crust pepperoni pizza containing 22.5g of saturated fats.

Neil Fowler, the editor of Which?, said: "We would like people to be aware of just how much of their daily food intake comes in just one meal - a day's worth of fat or sugar shouldn't be ignored.

"Unlike at the supermarket, it's almost impossible to work out the nutritional content of a takeaway. Ultimately we want consumers to have much clearer information about fat, sugar and salt levels."

Labelling problem

He said that Domino's Pizza and Pizza Hut were unusual in that they did try to offer nutritional information - but Which? found that the Domino's information was incorrect.

Four cheese and tomato pizzas tested were supposed to contain a total of 100g of fats, both saturated and unsaturated, but actually had more than 150g on average.

A spokesman for Domino's said that it was concerned about the finding. "We regularly monitor pizza-making in all of our stores and we are very surprised to see variances of the size that Which? has reported.

"We are currently conducting a thorough review to ensure that our customers have accurate nutritional data."

The Food Standards Agency has worked with supermarkets to improve the nutritional labelling of its food, and a spokesman said the next step was big catering firms, then High Street restaurants.

A spokesman said: "We need to find an approach to suit what is a very diverse sector and which will provide their customers with a simple and effective way for them to understand what is in their food, and which are the healthier options."

TAKEAWAY CONTENT

Based on 'standard' portions sampled by Which?

  Indian Chinese Pizza (thick crust) Pizza (thin crust) GDA (men) GDA (women)
Calories (kcal) 1,338 1,436 836 929 2,500 2,000
Sugar (g) 23.8 62.3 8.5 8.2 120 90
Total fat (g) 55.5 60.4 31.5 48.3 95 70
Saturated fat (g) 23.2 9.3 15.5 22.5 30 20
Salt (g) 3.6 4.7 3.3 4.4 6 6
Takeaway portions: 350g meat dish; 200g rice; 100g naan or spring rolls Thick-crust pizza: 300g cheese and tomato; Thin-crust: 300g pepperoni


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