Europe's food has been under scrutiny since a scandal erupted in 2013 over the discovery that horsemeat was being passed off as beef in burgers and other products. Meat products sold across the European Union (EU) often contain less meat than labelled or even a different kind altogether, revealed the European Consumer Organization BEUC.
A report by the consumer watchdog said, "Customers are unwittingly buying meat pumped up with water, additives such as sulphites in minced beef, and chicken masquerading as veal in kebabs."
‘In recent months there have been cases where meat labels failed to highlight added water or declare the percentage of meat in the product. This suggests that more frequent checks should be conducted by EU authorities to prioritize efforts to fight food fraud.’
BEUC director Monique Goyens said, "If we are serious about rebuilding confidence in meat, EU member states need to beef up controls and make sure labels are complete and accurate. Consumers buying roast pork or grilled sausages should know from the label how much meat they really contain. No one wants to buy water for the price of meat. In recent months there had been frequent cases where labels failed to highlight added water or declare the percentage of meat in the product."
The findings also revealed the use of illegal food additives and the use of undeclared mechanically-separated meat and the fraudulent use of other species as a substitute. The report recommended more frequent checks by EU authorities and urged Brussels to prioritize efforts to fight food fraud.