An analysis of Australian takeaway pizzas, including those from major national chains, supermarkets and gourmet outlets, showed more than half of those tested had more salt, sugar or fat in their products than stated on the company’s nutritional panels.
A sampling of 174 pizzas was undertaken by the Local Health Authorities Analytical Committee, which works with local governments in WA.
Pizzas produced by the major franchise operators Domino’s, Eagle Boys and Pizza Hut, as well as independent or boutique outlets, were analysed as part of a study by 26 councils between March and May last year and analysed by the Curtin University-based Local Health Authorities Analytical Committee.
Chains are inconsistent
The biggest chains had samples that were highly inconsistent, with 17 of Domino's 20 samples having a significantly different sugar, fat, sodium, protein or carbohydrate content than claimed. Moreover, half of Pizza Hut's 25 products did not match their nutritional claims.
Frozen pizza products, such as those by McCain, Emilia, Dr Oetker, When in Rome and supermarket own-brand products, were also included in the study.
All four frozen Woolworths Select samples had higher sugar levels than claimed, and six of the 12 frozen pizzas bought at Coles had results that differed from the listed quantities.
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.”
Swanson added that the Heart Foundation’s WA anti-obesity campaign LiveLighter urged pizza companies to provide accurate and reliable nutrition information panels as part of food packaging and labelling.
“The LiveLighter campaign is encouraging consumers to make their own pizzas or choose healthier take-away alternatives where they can select their ingredients and control the levels of salt, sugar and fat,” he said.
In response to the study, Pizza Hut stated it was unwilling to respond until it could ascertain which of its products had been tested.