‘Shocking’ levels of salt, fat and sugar found in takeaways

A Local Government study into two of the UK’s most popular takeaway dishes has revealed ‘shocking’ levels of salt, sugar, colourings and fat, as well as bogus meat. The study revealed that a single portion of sweet and sour chicken with fried rice contained 119% of an average person’s Guideline Daily Amount (GDA) of salt and 75% GDA of sugar.

A similar analysis found that a single portion of the popular Indian dish, chicken tikka masala with pilau rice, included 92% GDA of salt and 116% GDA of saturated fat. The study, which examined food from over 220 takeaways throughout the UK, also revealed illegally high quantities of several food colourings. A spokesman for the Food Standards agency explained that if the meals were pre-packaged they would need to contain a health warning which advised customers that they included the food colourings.

In some test purchases the takeaway was advised that the customer suffered from a nut allergy. Despite this, 20% of these purchases contained either peanuts or almonds. In a small number of cases it was found that turkey had been used instead of chicken. A spokesman for the Local Government Regulation Board claimed that, whilst everybody knows that takeaway food isn’t particularly healthy, it is completely unnecessary for one meal to contain so much sugar, fat and salt.

He claimed that there is no defence for using illegally high levels of food colouring and that the practice of substituting a cheaper meat is totally unacceptable. There are a number of ways that takeaways can make their food healthier. These include using natural colourings, reducing salt and using low fat oils. Such measures shouldn’t compromise taste whilst sponsoring such an approach will often attract those customers who are more health conscious.

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