20
April
2017
|
22:00
Europe/Amsterdam

Porky Lights sausages statements

Porky Lights sausages statement following broadcast of The One Show - 20/04/17

Following this evening’s The One Show and subsequent statement from the manufacturers of Porky Lights, G White & Co., we are still extremely concerned that the company has failed to address how independent tests commissioned by Slimming World and a number of other organisations – over a number of months – produced such high fat levels so inconsistent with the company’s own testing and the product’s low fat claims. Nor have G White & Co. explained how they plan to prevent this from happening again in the future.

Furthermore, we have recently become aware that the packaging for Porky Lights sausages, the nutrition information and the way in which the manufacturer is measuring fat levels has all changed. We’ve also seen reports from people on social media suggesting recently purchased Porky Lights sausages differ in appearance and taste from products they bought earlier this year. While the recent tests commissioned by The One Show and Trading Standards would indicate that the manufacturer has taken urgent steps to lower the fat levels, consistency is still our main concern.

We have always maintained that if the manufacturers are able to show us that they have put procedures in place to ensure they can consistently achieve improved results, and are able to provide regular, reliable lab reports which demonstrate that Porky Lights are consistently in line with the information declared on their packaging, we would welcome the opportunity to reinstate the sausages onto our database. Unfortunately we are not yet at this point.

In the 26 years that we have had a food database, we have developed excellent relationships with more than 1,500 manufacturers and retailers. This isn’t a ‘sausage squabble’. This is about continuing to provide our members with accurate information and a service they can trust to protect their weight loss. We’d be letting our 900,000 members down if we were to ignore this issue.

Porky Lights sausages statement - 17/03/2017

Following concerns and controversy about the fat levels in Porky Lights sausages, Slimming World has in recent weeks commissioned independent tests to investigate the issue further. Slimming World sent 13 samples of sausages, bought from a number of stores around the country, to two UKAS accredited laboratories for testing. We felt it was important to obtain our own test reports because G White & Co., the company who make Porky Lights, were publicly accusing us of relying on sabotaged test results commissioned by competitor companies - in effect suggesting that we were misleading our members and seeking to discredit their company.

The results of the new tests show that the fat content of the sausages varied enormously and none of the sausages we sent for testing were actually low fat. The table below sets out each of the results (please note that contractually we are not allowed to name the laboratories used or show the actual test certificates) and clearly shows that the average fat content is anything between 8.7g/100g and 19.4g/100g - all significantly higher than the 3.8g/100g fat (or 2.5g fat per sausage) declared on the nutrition information on Porky Lights’ packaging. We have photographs to prove that what we sent for testing were unopened packs of Porky Lights sausages.

Laboratory 1

Laboratory 2

Use By

Batch

Bought

Fat g/100g

Use By

Batch

Bought

Fat g/100g

21-Feb

042

8:56

Frozen samples

17

 

 

 

 

5-Mar

054 7:36

Manchester

17

       

6-Mar

055 6:26

Manchester

17.6

6-Mar

055 6:26

Manchester

18.1

       

7-Mar

056 11:15

Sheffield

12.6

       

9-Mar

058 8:29

Manchester

13.5

9-Mar

058 17:53

Sheffield

17.6

9-Mar

058 17:46

Sheffield

14.2

       

9-Mar

058 22:58

Manchester

14.8

10-Mar

059 6:51

Manchester

19.4

10-Mar

059 19:36

Manchester

8.7

       

10-Mar

059 18:33

Norwich

9

       

10-Mar

059 19:43

Norwich

10.3

11-Mar

060 21:54

Filton

15.9

       

These results are in addition to the previous test results which we were shown by one of our suppliers, which consisted of eight reports showing average fat contents ranging from 9.6g/100g to 19.1 g/100g.

As these results show that the fat levels are both high and very inconsistent we have communicated to our 4,500 Consultants across the UK and Ireland to let them know that we are unable to give even an estimated Syn value for Porky Lights at this time.

We have passed on the results of all the tests conducted to date to G White & Co. and we will also be referring the matter to Trading Standards.

G White and Co. continue to dispute the reliability of any of these results: they have shown us results which they commissioned (as it happens from the same laboratory that our supplier used for seven of the earlier tests) showing fat contents of under 3g/100g.

Following communications about our concerns earlier in March, we saw a great deal of negative comments about Slimming World’s motivation for alerting its members to possible inconsistencies in the fat content of Porky Lights. We were accused of attacking Porky Lights because they are a competitor to our own sausages. Nothing is further from the truth - there are various low Syn sausages on the market, and we are happy to share that information with our members so that they are able to make informed choices according to their own personal taste preferences.

We would also like to correct the false claim that the company which obtained the earlier test results upon which we relied supplies us with our own Slimming World/Iceland frozen sausages. It does not.

We’d like to make it absolutely clear that we’ve taken this action to make sure that the information we give to members is as accurate as it can be and to protect members’ weight losses. We must rely on declared information on pack until and unless we have cause to question it. We have had to take this further action to protect our good name and the reputation and good name of every Slimming World Consultant, especially in light of G White’s accusations of sabotage.

 

Porky Lights sausages statement - 3/03/2017

We think it’s important, after what’s been a turbulent week, with a lot of information and misinformation in the press and on social media, to give you and our members a recap on where we are at with Porky Lights sausages. There are some important facts and figures behind this story which need to be borne in mind.

We’ve been aware, of course, of how popular Porky Lights sausages are with members – however, during a tasting session, we were slightly concerned by the apparent level of fat in the samples we tried. Because of this, one of our trusted suppliers sent some samples of Porky Lights for testing in a professional laboratory. We now have several test reports which show various samples of the sausages to have materially higher levels of fat than those claimed on the packs: between 14.2g/100g and 19.1g/100g. We have faced criticism from Porky Lights’ manufacturers for using a third party to do this work – however, we have no reason whatsoever to doubt the accuracy of the tests.

We contacted the manufacturer of Porky Lights, G White & Co., to let them know our results. They were extremely concerned, because they also had test evidence (which they shared with us) which showed that the sausages were at the levels stated on the pack.

After serious consideration – faced with such a heavy weight of conflicting evidence about the fat content of the sausages – we decided that by far the safest option – to protect our members’ weight losses – was to withdraw the sausages from the database, until we had a chance to investigate further. And we felt we needed to advise members that we couldn’t guarantee that the sausages should be counted as half a Syn, and based on the results we had seen, it would be best to count the sausages as we would count an average pork sausage, as 4.5 Syns.

Because of the furore this caused on social media, the story was picked up by the national media – this was never our intention. This caused G White & Co. to respond by accusing other manufacturers of sabotage.

We have no alternative now until we have consistent and accurate information to provide to our members (which will include more independent testing) to keep the sausages off the database. We feel sure that G White & Co. will be conducting their own tests.

Once we have that information, we’ll be able to decide whether Porky Lights are consistently at the fat level they claim (and there was, for instance, a rogue or mislabeled batch as some people are suggesting).

We know that some people are accusing Slimming World of deliberately ‘penalising’ Porky Lights so that we can sell more of our own sausages. Nothing is further from the truth! There are many low Syn sausages featured on our database, and if further information establishes that these initial tests weren’t typical, then we’ll be happy to confirm the half Syn value for them. We feel certain you’ll understand – and will help our members to understand – that any action that Slimming World takes comes purely from a desire for members to have all the information they need to lose weight successfully.

We’ll keep you updated over the next week or so to let you know the results of our testing.

 

 

Porky Lights sausages statement - 2/03/17

“Food labelling legislation is very precise and any manufacturer of food products is legally obliged to declare accurate ingredients and nutritional information within the relevant tolerances.

Amongst other criteria, Slimming World provides information on food products based on these ingredient lists and nutritional information to support members with their weight loss.

The information we make available about a product is always subject to revision if circumstances change. If concerns are raised about the information we have a responsibility to our members to remove that product from the database until we can be assured by the manufacturer that the information is indeed correct.

We have developed excellent relationships with manufacturers and retailers and this process has served us and our members well in the 26 years that we have had a food database.”

 

 

 

Porky Lights sausages statement - 01/03/17

Allison Brentnall, Head of Food at Slimming World, said: “We sent a batch of the Porky Lights sausages away for nutritional analysis as we felt concerned about the fatty texture. This is something we do routinely with products that we worry may affect our members’ weight losses.

“The analysis of this batch suggests that the sausages are indeed much higher in fat than the nutritional information on the product’s packaging had indicated – and this would affect their Syn value significantly.

“We’ve let Porky Lights know about our findings and, in order to protect our members’ weight losses, which is always our priority, we have temporarily removed the sausages from our Syns database.”

About Slimming World

Slimming World was founded by Margaret Miles-Bramwell (OBE, FRSA) in 1969. There are now more than 16,000 weekly groups supporting 900,000 members across the UK and Republic of Ireland. Groups are run by a network of 4,500 community-based Slimming World Consultants, who receive specific training in the role of diet and physical activity in weight management, as well as sophisticated behaviour-change techniques.

Slimming World’s healthy eating plan, Food Optimising, is based on the science of satiety and energy density. Our phased activity programme, Body Magic, eases members into activity until it becomes an intrinsic part of their daily routine. The principles behind Slimming World’s philosophy are based on a deep understanding of the challenges faced by overweight people and recognition that those who struggle with weight carry a double burden, the weight itself and a burden of guilt and shame about their weight. Slimming World’s programme integrates practical, up-to-date advice with a highly developed support system based on care and compassion, and Consultant training focuses on facilitating behaviour change in a warm and friendly group environment. Consultant training is delivered through the Slimming World Academy. Slimming World also invests in a comprehensive research programme to develop its support for long-term weight management. The group support provided by Slimming World is recognised as effective by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) and the NHS.

For more information about Slimming World’s approach visit www.slimmingworld.co.uk or call 0844 897 8000. For the Press Office please email public.relations@slimming-world.co.uk

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