Sausages will be a firm favourite at many a bank holiday BBQ this weekend - but not all sausages that claim to be low fat are quite as healthy as they seem, new analysis has claimed.
The consumer body Which? tested packs of sausages from a range of supermarkets and brands over a five month period and found some contained almost three and a half times more fat per 100g than on the label.
The amount of fat in sausages does vary, because they are made out of different cuts of meat. Manufacturers are also allowed some leeway with the amount that is contained in foods versus what is stated on pack because of this, according to food labelling rules in the UK. But Which? said it found several sausages that contained far more than this.
The sausage with the highest single variation was found to be Heck Super Lean Thins. On pack, it states they contain 2.7g of fat per 100g when grilled but during one testing session Which? said it found it contained 9.3g of fat per 100g.
Sainsbury’s was found to be the worst repeat offender – in six samples, its Butcher’s Choice Reduced Fat pork sausages “repeatedly contained at least 60% more fat than the label stated”. Morrisons Eat Smart Counted 8 Butcher’s style Cumberland sausages contained 5.7 g when cooked, according to Which?, more than the 3.6g stated on pack.
Porky Lights 6 premium British pork sausages were found to contain 9.1g compared with the 7.1g stated on pack.
“Shoppers picking the low-fat option for health and dietary reasons will be horrified to discover that the fat content quoted on the labels can be so different to reality,” a Which? spokesperson said. “Manufacturers must do better: labels must be clear, consistent and accurate, so that people can make informed decisions when choosing food in store.”
Here’s what the companies had to say about the findings.
Sainsbury’s said it was “concerned” by the results and has temporarily withdraw its Butcher’s Choice Reduced Fat pork sausages from sale while it investigates with the supplier. “No other products are affected. We’re sorry for any inconvenience this may cause,” the spokesperson said.
A spokesperson for G. White & Co Limited, which owns Porky Lights, challenged the findings and said that a “degree of deviation” was inevitable when using natural ingredients because the raw materials will have inherent variance within them. They said their own testing showed the sausages to be in line with permitted variations in fat content.
An Asda spokesperson said: “As a responsible retailer we test our products to ensure we provide accurate information to our customers. Whilst the results conducted on this sample do not reflect the information we hold on the product, we will be carrying out further investigations with our supplier.”
Morrisons said it would look into the findings. Heck had not responded to requests for comment at the time of writing.