Wendyl Wants To Know
Each week, Wendyl Nissen takes a packaged food item and decodes what the label tells you about its contents.

Wendyl Nissen: Handy but not so healthy

By Wendyl Nissen

Additives abound in this packet so why not buy pork shoulder and cook it yourself?
Heller's BBQ Pulled Pork. $5 for 180g. Photo / Supplied
Heller's BBQ Pulled Pork. $5 for 180g. Photo / Supplied

Pulled pork is a way of slow cooking pork shoulder with spices and flavourings which originated in the American South. It's become very popular here especially in the very trendy sliders but also as a sandwich or burger filling.

Heller's BBQ Pulled Pork. $5 for 180g.

Ingredients

Pork (46 per cent)

This means that less than half of this product is actually made up of pork, which is a bit distressing. If I was to make pulled pork at home I would get a piece of pork shoulder and slow cook it with some tomato paste, vinegar, some brown sugar and spices and the finished result would be about 99 per cent pork.

BBQ sauce

Water

Sugar

There's not too much sugar in here at 7.2g or just under two teaspoons per 45g or a quarter of this packet.

Tomato paste

This is concentrated tomato.

Maltodextrin

This is sugar in a liquid form.

White vinegar

Vinegar gives a sour, sharp taste to the BBQ sauce.

Modified starch (1442)

This is Hydroxy-propyl distarch phosphate, which is a treated starch.

Salt

This is quite high in salt at 467mg per 45g serving.

Colour (150D)

This is a caramel colour, which in this case is made by reacting corn sugar with ammonia and sulphites under high pressures and high temperatures.

Spices

These will be spices like cumin, mustard and paprika.

Hydrolysed vegetable protein

Hydrolysed vegetable protein is commonly used as a filler in commercially produced foods. It can be made from wheat or soy, it is unclear which in this ingredients list.

Garlic

Flavour enhancer (635)

This is Disodium 5'ribo-nucleotide which is a chemical compound.

Flavourings

If these were natural flavourings the producer would point this out so I have to assume these are artificial flavourings.

Preservative (202)

This is potassium sorbate, which is neutralised sorbic acid.

Thickener (415)

This is xanthan gum which is fermented sucrose and glucose.

Also:

Water Salt

As above.

Maltodextrin

As above.

Acidity regulator (325,262)

This is sodium lactate (325) which is a natural acid produced from milk sugar and Potassium acetate (262) which is the potassium salt of acetic acid.

Mineral salt (451, 450)

These are both diphosphates, which are salts of phosphoric acid.

Hydrolysed vegetable protein

As above.

Thickener (407)

This is carrageenan, a gel obtained from seaweed.

Yeast extract

This adds a meaty taste and is similar to Marmite or Vegemite.

Spice extract

Preservative (223)

This is sodium metabisulphite, a gas formed when sulphur burns. Some people have an allergy to sulphites.

Flavouring

As above.

Vegetable oil

Not sure what oil is used in this product.

My recommendations:

I really understand the convenience of having this in the fridge to use in sandwiches but you're getting a lot of additives for something which is really a very simple food.

There are 11 additives including thickeners, preservatives, colour, acidity regulators, mineral salts, a flavour enhancer and modified starch. Not to mention the added flavouring and hydrolysed vegetable protein.

Why not buy some pork shoulder? At $10 for 1kg, that equals $1 for 100g - which is more than the amount of pork in this product.

Get a big piece and slow cook it with some spices, tomato paste and sugar then store in your fridge for use throughout the week.

You'll not only save money but you will vastly reduce the amount of additives you are consuming.

Look for recipes on Google.

Highlights

• Only 46 per cent pork.

• Uses 11 additives.

• Contains hydrolysed vegetable protein.

- NZ Herald

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