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article imageConsumer group says French getting stuffed by watery turkey meat

By Robert Myles     May 12, 2014 in Food
Paris - An online petition doing the rounds in France should be a wake-up call to consumers worldwide to make reading the packaging part of the routine of any weekly grocery-shop.
In early May, Paris-based consumer organization Foodwatch France launched an e-petition on that takes to task one of France’s leading grocery chains, E. Leclerc, over labelling of the retailer’s own-brand turkey slices.
On the packaging, E.Leclerc describes its turkey slices as "100 percent fillet" but as Foodwatch highlight, closer examination of the product’s ingredients reveal that the ‘turkey’ actually contains about 16 percent water mixed with various additives.
Put another way, the unwary shopper who casually plops a convenience pack of six slices of turkey meat in their trolley is, literally, buying a bit of a turkey. As Foodwatch put it, although E.Leclerc are purporting to sell six turkey slices, in actual fact, consumers only get the equivalent of five slivers of turkey meat.
Not mincing their words, Foodwatch France state, “E.Leclerc customers are taken for turkey stuffing,” then go on to underline how this hidden discrepancy short-changes consumers. Foodwatch contrast buying turkey slices to the purchase of eggs, posing the question, “Could you imagine buying six fresh eggs from a farmer who slips one, filled with water, into the box?”
Intrigued, I decided to do some math.
At my local E.Leclerc, the supermarket retails its own brand ‘Tradilège’ turkey slices in six-slice packs for €1.73. ‘Cuit à l'étouffée’ runs the splash on the pack, although the English translation of ‘steam-cooked’ doesn’t sound half as appealing. Sure enough, the sliced turkey’s described as ‘100% filet,’ needing minimal translation.
But it’s the small-print of the labelling that’s getting consumers as steamed up as the turkey. So much so that in less than a week, Foodwatch’s petition has gathered support from over 73,000 turkey-eating Francophones unwilling to surrender to the supermarket giant.
Taking E.Leclerc’s own figure of 16 percent water and additives, each 180 gram pack of six turkey slices contains 28.8 grams of (mostly water) non-turkey constituents. So the water content costs consumers 27.68 eurocents each purchase.
In the same supermarket, shoppers can buy 6 litres of a premium brand mineral water, Perrier, for example, for €3.34 — just over 55 eurocents a litre.
But here’s the rub: shoppers that get part of their daily recommended water from turkey slices (with 16 percent water) are paying the equivalent of €9.61 per litre for their ‘turkey water’.
That’s more than 17 times the price of Perrier — enough to give a whole new meaning to gobbling a hole in your purse.
More about grocery shopping, Food additives, shopping in France, French supermarkets, ELeclerc
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