A range of meat products sold in New Zealand have tested
negative for horsemeat, DNA tests show - but the content of
some products would raise eyebrows.
Popular barbecue "sausages" Sizzlers contain three types of
meat, despite only one listed in their ingredients.
The Herald had eight different meat products, both made
locally and imported, tested by Environmental and Science
Research (ESR) after the horsemeat scandal in Europe.
Hutton's Ham & Chicken luncheon, Home Brand Sausage
Rolls, Arisiti Asian-style Meatballs, Wattie's Beef Lasagne,
all packaged in New Zealand, Heinz Wattie's Sita Corned Beef
Loaf, Sizzlers Original, both packaged in Australia, Pek
Cured Chopped Pork, packaged in Poland and Princes 8 Hot
Dogs, packaged in the UK, were all tested.
None were found to contain horsemeat.
But Sizzlers, which lists its first ingredient as "meat
(including pork)" was found to contain cattle and chicken
meat as well as pork.
A spokesman for Goodman Fielder, which manufactures Sizzlers,
said the product complies with the strict regulatory food
standards on labelling, specifically the Australian New
Zealand Food Standards Code.
"In addition to this, we voluntarily elaborate on the pork
content in Sizzlers to ensure persons with specific religious
considerations are aware that pork is a component of the
He said Sizzlers do not contain offal.
Manufacturers do not need to specify which meat types are in
a product, as long as they identify it as "meat", without any
further details, the Ministry for Primary Industries said.
However, if a product with only "meat" listed in its
ingredients was found to contain a meat not commonly eaten in
New Zealand - such as horse - it could be in breach of the
Fair Trading Act.
Spokesman for the Ministry of Business, Innovation and
Employment, Alastair Stewart, said the claim of a breach of
the act could be compounded if, for example, the "meat"
product carried images of cows grazing.
Food transparency campaigner Sue Kedgley said laws regarding
labelling needed to be stricter.
"It's an absolutely appalling loophole ... everyone wants to
know what they're eating. Manufacturers shouldn't be trying
to hide what is in their food, they should be absolutely
honest with consumers."
Ms Kedgley said it should be "absolutely compulsory" that
manufacturers be forced to include on their labels exactly
what was in their products.
It was comforting, she said, that so few products sold in New
Zealand hid behind the "meat loophole", but that it still
The horsemeat scandal in Europe has lifted the lid on
industry labelling regulations and has helped inform
consumers about what really goes into their food, Ms Kedgley
- Amelia Wade, New Zealand Herald