Recent testing of the most popular pizza products in Australia may have consumers wondering whether we really can trust the information printed on nutritional panels.
Laboratory analysis of takeaway pizzas, including those from Dominos and Pizza Hut, supermarkets and gourmet independent outlets, showed more than half of the pizzas consumed in Australia have significantly higher levels of salt, sugar, and fat than what is stated on the manufacturer’s nutritional panels.
Dominos was by far and away the biggest offender, with 85% of pizzas tested containing significantly higher levels of sugar, salt and saturated fat. Pizza Hut didn’t fair much better, with 50% of their pizzas containing higher levels of these nasties.
Frozen pizzas sold in supermarkets were also tested. The Woolworths Select range of pizzas contain 20% more sugar and 4 out of the 5 McCains pizzas showed inconsistent results for sugars, total fat, and carbohydrates.
The sampling of 174 pizzas was undertaken by the Local Health Authorities Analytical Committee which works with local governments in Western Australia.
Overall, sugar was the most common excess, followed by fat, saturated fat and salt. However, not all pizzas submitted for testing could undergo the analysis because they lacked sufficient nutritional information on their labelling.
Dominos and Pizza Hut have the highest levels of salt (569 and 534.4 mg/100g respectively). On average, packaged/frozen pizzas have the highest fat content (10.18g/100g) and the highest level of sugars (6.08g/100g).
The National Heart Foundation of Australia says the results show people are consuming more kilojoules than they are aware of.
“These junk food providers are making it difficult for the community to address the growing epidemic of obesity among adults in Australia,” Heart Foundation WA Chief Executive Maurice Swanson said. “The saturated fat and high salt levels in these popular junk food products mean people who eat them regularly are increasing their risk of obesity, heart attacks or strokes.”
Food for Thought
While all this doesn’t bode well for the pizza manufacturers, you have to wonder what’s to stop other food manufacturers from under-reporting the levels of sugar, salt and fat? Surely the inconsistencies between what is actually in our food and what is printed on nutritional panels, isn’t limited just to pizzas?