18 used the term �fillet� or �breast� � this is a legal term that can only be used for chicken with no added ingredients
Why would extra ingredients be added to chicken?
The water is added to the chicken to �bulk it up�, making it appear larger and heavier than it really is. And it can also help to prevent the meat drying out when it is transported and stored. Other ingredients, such as animal protein, are often added to help the meat retain the water, even after cooking.
So does all chicken that we buy from restaurants and takeaways actually have added ingredients?
Not all the chicken used by the catering industry has added ingredients. This type of chicken accounts for about 10% of all chicken used in the catering market in the UK (60,000 tonnes).
What about chicken I buy from the supermarket?
The fresh chicken pieces you buy from supermarkets are covered by very specific regulations and should not have any ingredients added to it.
Processed chicken products, such as chicken burgers and nuggets, bought from the supermarket might contain added water and other ingredients, but these should be clearly marked on the label.
Is it illegal to add ingredients to chicken?
It is legal to add water and other ingredients, such as animal protein, to chicken, as long as the products are properly labelled. However the problem with some of the chicken products tested is that they are not labelled accurately, which misleads the consumer, and this is illegal.
Is it still safe to eat chicken from restaurants and takeaways?
People don�t need to avoid chicken from restaurants and takeaways for safety reasons. The issue that has been identified by this research is consumers being misled by incorrect labelling.
Is there any BSE risk from the hydrolysed beef protein used to bulk up chicken fillets?
The source of the bovine material was identified as being from either collagen protein. The European Scientific Committee concluded that the parts of the hide used for the production of collagen do not present a risk with regard to BSE, provided contamination is avoided.
All bovine material should have been subject to European-wide BSE controls, the same controls that apply to all beef products. Therefore, provided these controls have been applied, any traces of beef that may be in any other products would not raise any new food safety concerns.
What is the Agency doing to make sure manufacturers label chicken accurately?
The Agency has been working with authorities both in the UK and in Europe to put pressure on manufacturers to improve the labelling of these products.
Using the results in this latest enforcement exercise, local authorities will be considering what formal action to take against wholesalers who supply this chicken.
I only eat halal meat � does this mean that I could have eaten pork or beef when I�ve chosen chicken in a restaurant or from a takeaway?
It is possible that chicken you have eaten may have contained some proteins from pork or beef. The simplest way to avoid eating added protein in chicken is to avoid chicken with added water � if you are concerned you should check with the owner/manager.
I'm a halal caterer. How can I be sure that the chicken I use doesn't contain added ingredients?
If you don�t want to supply chicken that contains added ingredients, such as pork or beef, the simplest way to do so is to avoid buying chicken with added water. You should certainly avoid the brands identified in this survey as containing undeclared pork or beef.
How should the chicken be labelled?
The products should be labelled in accordance with the Food Labelling Regulations 1996, as amended.