More sugar in pizza than makers claim

Tucking into your favourite takeaway pizza is a nutritional lottery, according to the results of a WA survey, which found more than half had more sugar, fat or salt than the makers claimed.

An analysis of 174 products bought at pizza shops and supermarkets found wide inconsistencies between the claimed nutritional content and the actual levels, with sugar the biggest offender.

Samples were collected by 26 councils between March and May last year and analysed by the Curtin University-based Local Health Authorities Analytical Committee.

The big pizza chains had highly inconsistent samples, with 17 of Domino's 20 samples having a significantly different sugar, fat, sodium, protein or carbohydrate content than claimed. Half of Pizza Hut's 25 products did not match the claimed nutritional information.

Pizza from Eagle Boys and 93 of the 96 samples from independent pizza shops could not be compared because no detailed nutritional information was supplied.

Supermarket-bought pizzas were no better for accurate information, with all four frozen Woolworths Select samples with higher sugar levels than claimed, and half of the 12 frozen pizzas bought at Coles with results different from the listed quantities.

Heart Foundation WA chief executive Maurice Swanson said it was concerning the major pizza brands were providing misleading nutrition information.

"This is making it more difficult to address the growing epidemic of obesity in adults in WA," he said.

Maria Szybiak, director of the LiveLighter campaign run by Heart Foundation and Cancer Council, called for pizza companies to abide by legislation that required food manufacturers and retailers to provide accurate and reliable nutrition information panels.

Domino's said it relied on suppliers for some nutritional information, and factors such as seasonal variations could affect the sugar content of ingredients such as tomatoes and pineapple, or the fat and protein in meat. Some variations could be linked to employees not weighing ingredients properly.

Pizza Hut said it could not respond without knowing which dough base and toppings were used but would examine the survey.

The West Australian

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