Stiftung Warentest examined meat salads from different manufacturers
The consumer protection organization “Stiftung Warentest” examined the quality of various meat salads. Inexpensive salads performed well to very well with the testers. Criteria were meat quality and price, but not the origin and animal husbandry.
According to a small study by the Stiftung Warentest, "good meat salad doesn't have to be expensive". The results were presented in the in-house magazine "Test" (issue 10/2012). Accordingly, products, some of which cost less than 26 cents per 100 grams, scored top marks. “The meat salads from sausage, cucumber and mayonnaise for 22 to 26 cents per 100 grams of the examined meat salads are the best,” said the testers. The cheapest product cost 22 cents and the most expensive 1.33 per 100 grams.
Top marks for discounter meat salads
The meat salads of the discounter and supermarket chains received top marks in particular. The most expensive sausage salad was given a “good” rating, but cost more than one euro per 100 grams. Four of the 24 test products included four light salads.
According to the test results, the meat salads tested had an average fat content of 25 percent, which is why the salads are not exactly part of diet products. One serving (100 grams) can contain over 400 kilocalories. Meat salads that declare themselves as "reduced fat" must have at least 30 percent less fat than conventional meat sausage salads. In order to achieve this fat content, most food manufacturers use a dressing consisting of a yogurt sauce instead of mayonnaise and poultry meat instead of pork sausage.
Decisive taste, smell and quality
In the test, the experts examined the taste, appearance, smell, germ content, fat and salt content, quality of the ingredients, packaging and labeling of the ingredients. It was not tested where the meat came from.
According to the Stiftung Warentest, the old consumer saying "good doesn't have to be expensive" should fit here. The conventional meat salads from Rewe (Ja), Aldi (Wonnemeyer) and Lidl (Vitakrone) scored with the marks 2.1 and 2.2. The salads from Aldi Nord (Ofterdinger), Penny (Primakost) and the brand manufacturers Nadler and Schloss Küche achieved a grade of 2.3.
The products from Lidl (Linessa) and Weight Watchers did the best for the reduced-fat meat sausage salads. The brand manufacturer "You may" would actually have occupied a very good place for taste reasons. However, the meat salad only got the grade "satisfactory" because the fat content was 22 percent higher than that declared on the packaging (18 percent). Accordingly, a serving of "You may" instead of 150 to 200 up to 248 calories. "Consumers must be able to rely on packaging information," was the tough verdict of the Stiftung Warentest. Especially when it comes to reduced-calorie foods, consumers place a high standard on the product when it comes to fat content. Therefore "the information must be correct."
Best meat quality thanks to high-quality ham sausage
The meat quality of the products was particularly important in the test. The Light Salad from “Weight-Watcher” was able to achieve a “very good”. For the testers, meat quality meant high-quality Lyoner or ham sausage with a high proportion of muscle meat. The often used scalded sausage, which in most cases is produced from pork with little muscle, is of lower quality.
No separator meat detected
The testers rated it positive that no salad had so-called MS meat. With this procedure, the meat is removed from the bones with a machine. This process may contain nerve tissue in the sausage. Since the BSE scandal, this process has been considered "risky".
Two meat salads contained yeast, but none contained pathogens
No dangerous germs such as Salmonella were found in all products even after the minimum shelf life. In the past, mayonnaise was considered to be risky because the eggs used often contained bacteria. The surface of the meat used also offers a good opportunity for germs to reproduce.
For some food scandals, all manufacturers have only used previously heated eggs to make mayonnaise. "This way, no bacteria like salmonella can get into the mayonnaise," say food experts. In fact, the testers found no significant pathogens in laboratory tests. Only two salads from the companies "Kühlmann" and "Pfennings" showed low, but "harmless amounts of yeast in health" after the expiry date. This is a sign that "the meat salads are on the verge of spoiling," say the testers.
Meat salads with additives
All convenience foods contain additives, albeit in small numbers than was the case in earlier times. All salads used preservatives, thickeners and antioxidants. Some of the salads also used artificial sweeteners, colors and flavor enhancers. None of the products tested exceeded the prescribed EU quantities.
Consumers should pay attention to special labels when buying, as the consumer foundation pointed out. Notes on the packaging such as "Delicacy", "Fine" or "Finest quality" show that the meat salads have a meat sausage content higher than 25 percent. These statements do not prove whether the meat itself is of better quality. "A derivation of better meat quality cannot be derived," said the testers.
Origin of the meat products did not matter
Critics complain that in addition to the quality and price test, there is no research into where the meat comes from. The cheaper the meat, the worse the animal husbandry. Because in order to keep the meat salad cheap and therefore competitive, the meat must come from factory farming. "The main problem with factory farming is the suffering of the animals," says animal rights activist Birgit Höpfner. “They are densely packed in mostly dark stables, receive inadequate food and get sick from stress. Consumer testers do not take this into account, but even rate cheap prices as plus points ”. (sb)