Kebabs: Shocking load of fat, salt and mystery meat

Tue Jan 27, 2009 6:15am EST
 
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LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Doner kebabs, standard takeaway fare for thousands of Britons following a night out, contain "shocking" amounts of salt and fat, and many may include meat that is not listed as an ingredient.

A survey by food standards officers found the average kebab contained 98 percent of a person's daily recommended salt intake, nearly 1,000 calories, equivalent to half a woman's daily food intake, and almost 150 percent of the daily amount of saturated fat.

The worst offending kebabs managed 1,990 calories before salad and sauces were added and almost 350 percent of a woman's saturated fat intake.

The Local Authority Coordinators of Regulatory Services (LACORS) which coordinated the research, said it had revealed "shocking figures" about the contents of doner kebabs.

"We would never consider kebabs part of a calorie-controlled diet, but the level of saturated fat and salt in some is a serious cause for concern," said Geoffrey Theobald, chairman of LACORS.

"While some people may think they are making sensible choices by ordering a small kebab, this study showed little difference between small and large kebab weight."

The study, which involved tests on 494 kebabs by officers from 76 local authorities across Britain, discovered many of the kebabs were wrongly labeled.

Tests found that 35 percent of labels listed meat that was different from that actually found in the kebab. Six tested positive for pork when it had not been declared as an ingredient including two marked as halal, or acceptable for Muslims.

"It is totally unacceptable that people with certain faiths are unknowingly eating meats that are against their beliefs," Theobald said. "Labeling is a safeguard for people to help them make informed choices, so need to be accurate."

The unhealthiest kebabs were found in northwest England, where the average calorie content was 1,101, with those in London and Northern Ireland the "healthiest" in terms of calories.

(Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Steve Addison and Paul Casciato)