Consumers’ association DECO has issued a stark warning over health dangers posed by minced meat on sale up and down the country.
Concerns include seriously dangerous additives used to boost the meat’s “rich colour”.
“These additives can cause headaches, nausea, digestive and skin problems and, in the worst case scenario, death,” Deco’s food expert Nuno Lima Dias has told reporters.
“Anything from 10 milligrams per kilo poses a risk. But we have found certain samples with as much as 4500 milligrams. It is a time-bomb.”
DECO’s latest study of 26 butchers in Lisbon, Porto and Setúbal found “disastrous results” in the minced meat analysed, including traces of potentially-deadly listeria, salmonella and even the faecal bacteria E.coli.
In “many cases” the temperature of meat analysed was “tropical”, when it should have been at only 2ºC, said the association.
In one butcher’s, the temperature reached a staggering 17ºC. “This simply means that bacterias within the meat multiply,” Dias explained.
To add insult to injury, almost all the samples tested by DECO showed other meats present in the mixture.
The association has since appealed to the national food standards entity ASAE to be more vigilant – but the advice to consumers is “do not buy minced meat. Buy a full slice of meat and mince it at home”.
DECO adds that when buying meat, it should be odourless, with a consistent reddish colour.
The association also advises anyone buying meat to put it last on the list when out and about, so that the time that the meat is not refrigerated is kept to a minimum.
By NATASHA DONN