Food “contamination” and useless statistics!

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Food “contamination” and useless statistics!

Postby aero280 » September 5th, 2018, 8:48 am

There’s a report from the BBC that says “Meat testing: A fifth of samples reveal unspecified animals’ DNA”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-45371852

It’s very misleading and a complete scare. The “unspecified” refers to meat not listed in the contents. It’s not meat that is not usually eaten in the UK.

But, more importantly, in the article it refers to this survey only being carried out at establishment already suspected of some infringement. So finding that only 20% of businesses that were already under suspicion had a problem, is not as bad as the headline suggests.
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Re: Food “contamination” and useless statistics!

Postby Badger's mate » September 5th, 2018, 9:11 am

Yes, it took me a few minutes and a couple of readings to quite work out what it was all in aid of. Perhaps the word 'unlabelled' would have been better than 'unspecified'. However, I'm sure it is of concern to those that don't eat beef or pork that their lamb might well be contaminated with same, especially as these data were only reported if contamination was in excess of 1%. If were buying an ostrich steak, I would prefer it was ostrich, rather than beef...
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Re: Food “contamination” and useless statistics!

Postby StokeySue » September 5th, 2018, 10:26 am

The report is a bit scary - some samples contained meat from as many as 4 different species when only one was specified on the label, and the number of cases and the quantities suggested systematic fraud. Not good for people with allergies or cultural objections to certain meats, and you wonder what else the cheats are up to - if they will do that what other lines will they cross?

But agree very very badly reported. Not least because the reporter doesn’t understand the difference between unspecified and not specified, though that may come from the original report - it sounds a bit jargon to me

But if you buy a beef pie, it really shouldn’t contain pork
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Re: Food “contamination” and useless statistics!

Postby suffolk » September 5th, 2018, 11:09 am

Could a beef pie not legitimately contain pork ... i.e. lard in the pastry?
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Re: Food “contamination” and useless statistics!

Postby earthmaiden » September 5th, 2018, 11:09 am

I suppose it was misleading if you didn't read it properly. It does look as though they picked the kind of establishments which I would never trust anyway (which is a good few!). Goodness knows what's in a lot of the takeaways people have delivered at work - and that's the tip of the iceberg. It matters, particularly because it would be almost impossible to ever locate the source the meat and also because of people's cultural or medical objections.
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Re: Food “contamination” and useless statistics!

Postby StokeySue » September 5th, 2018, 11:15 am

suffolk wrote:Could a beef pie not legitimately contain pork ... i.e. lard in the pastry?

No
There could be lard in the pastry but that would have to be listed as an ingredient in its own right. These samples contained actual butchers meat in the filling, not mentioned.
And with a takeaway, yes I supposed they could fry in lard without telling you unless you asked
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Re: Food “contamination” and useless statistics!

Postby earthmaiden » September 5th, 2018, 12:12 pm

When you think of all the non-chain takeaways and back street food suppliers there are around in every town and city, it seems to me that this kind of thing must be rife. Just looking at some places and reading reports of visits from public health inspectors is enough to make one very wary of what such places might sell - and where on earth it might have come from. A lot of back street food sellers are scrupulous and of course deserve custom but they have to work hard to prove themselves as sadly, the unscrupulous put people off. It is very disappointing when chain stores and restaurants are found guilty - as they sometimes are.
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Re: Food “contamination” and useless statistics!

Postby suffolk » September 5th, 2018, 12:37 pm

StokeySue wrote:
suffolk wrote:Could a beef pie not legitimately contain pork ... i.e. lard in the pastry?

No
There could be lard in the pastry but that would have to be listed as an ingredient in its own right. These samples contained actual butchers meat in the filling, not mentioned.
And with a takeaway, yes I supposed they could fry in lard without telling you unless you asked


Yes, it should be in the ingredients ... hadn't picked up that it was simply the filling being referred to (must read more carefully) ... but presumably a proportion of the lard in a pastry topping would melt into the filling?
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Re: Food “contamination” and useless statistics!

Postby StokeySue » September 5th, 2018, 12:53 pm

I don’t think that’s the problem Suffs
Lard being almost pure fat with a trace of water contains virtually no DNA - probably not dectable in the kind of test used in food
So if the lard drips into a beef, lamb or chicken filling, then the DNA results wouldn’t show more than 1% of the filling as being pork it can only really be because there is pork meat in there, at a level that suggests it was added deliberately or extreme carelessness

And that’s what they were looking for, not trace contamination
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Re: Food “contamination” and useless statistics!

Postby suffolk » September 5th, 2018, 12:57 pm

StokeySue wrote:Lard being almost pure fat with a trace of water contains virtually no DNA - probably not dectable in the kind of test used in food


Right ... that's helpful :D :tu:
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Re: Food “contamination” and useless statistics!

Postby aero280 » September 5th, 2018, 3:20 pm

In the motoring world, there was a similar scare story a few years ago which suggested that "up to 80% of tyres on cars are illegal". This balderdash came about when a journalist misunderstood a report from the tyre industry that said that people were running their tyres until they were far too worn out and that in some places 80% of tyres removed from cars when new tyres were purchased were worn beyond legal limits or otherwise damaged.
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Re: Food “contamination” and useless statistics!

Postby StokeySue » September 5th, 2018, 3:23 pm

That's a good comparison aero
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