HomeConsum-actorsFresh filled pasta, the taste of deceptive labels. 38 products in comparison

Fresh filled pasta, the taste of deceptive labels. 38 products in comparison

Fresh filled pasta is a must of Italian cuisine. The food industry is the protagonist with an ever wider offer. We selected and compared 38 products, divided into the three classic flavors of filling with ricotta and spinach, meat, ham.

As usual, the product selection includes i leader in the Brand Industry (IDM) and Private Label (MDD). Having regard to private-label of GDO (Coop, Esselunga, Carrefour, Conad), discount (Eurospin and Lidl) and their suppliers (Consilia).

Fresh filled pasta, analysis

The analysis focuses on three aspects.

- Nutritional profiles. Attention should be paid, in this category of products, to the quantities of salt and saturated fats, both to be reduced to a minimum health needs. The nutritional tables, please note, refer the values ​​to 100g of product. While the packages in question, of 250g (230 those of Buitoni), are proposed as two portions (therefore of 125g each, 115g for Buitoni).

- Recipe. We focus on the presence of additives whose safety is debated by the international scientific community, the quality (declared) and the quantity and characterizing ingredients. The latter has been recalculated by us, in each product, to overcome the deception of the labels in many cases outlawed.

- Labels. Almost all of the labels in question violate the QUID rule (Quantitative Ingredient Declaration), which requires indicating the quantity of the characterizing ingredients as a percentage of the total ingredients added to the product. (1)

Widespread deceptions

The competition on the quantities of characterizing ingredients is distorted by misleading statements. In fact, most of the labels refer to two compound ingredients - pasta and filling - and indicate the quantity of the characteristic ones (e.g. ricotta) as a percentage of the compound ingredient (e.g. filling) rather than the total.

The 'noble' ingredients they thus appear in quantities that border on and exceed twice the reality. The misleading indication 'Filling 60%: ricotta 45%, spinach 20%', for example, matches'27% ricotta and 12% spinach'. A deception to the consumer, as well as an unfair competition practice that cannot be justified by widespread malpractice.

Few compliant labels

Very few operators comply with the QUID rule, properly specifying the percentage of the precious ingredient in the finished product:

- Coop and Consilia have labels in order on all references considered,

- Carrefour a single standard label (tortellini with ham under the Simpl brand),

- Esselunga and Eurospin a single label almost up to standard (for both, fresh pasta filled with ham).

Also outlaws on websites

The violations of the law mentioned above, of course, are repeated on the sites websites business andecommerce. And to these are added those of partial nutritional tables, which are also outlawed. As in the case of Fini who, combination, omits to report the values ​​of saturated fat and salt.

The deceptions on the quantities of the characterizing ingredients, moreover, they can integrate the crime of commercial fraud (Criminal Code, article 515). This entails the duty of all public officials to challenge the offense, which can be prosecuted ex officio (Code of Criminal Procedure, Article 331). Not only therefore of the 'four cats' of ICQRF, to which the Gentiloni government has attributed exclusive competence to sanctions for violations of the reg. EU 1169/11 (Legislative Decree 231/17).

Hens on the ground, but that's not enough

The era of chickens caged hens seems to have ended, reading the labels of the 38 products examined. Almost only eggs from free-range hens are added to the fresh filled pasta.

Without classification they are only the eggs used by Fini and Buitoni, while Consilia specifies only that they are fresh eggs.

Eggs without antibiotics, the example of Coop

The best example comes from Coop, which always uses fresh Italian eggs from free-range hens, without antibiotics, with non-GMO feed. A virtue not to be overlooked, that system provides animal welfare and consumer health with respect to the risks of antibiotic resistance.

Above average Esselunga also arises, using only Italian eggs, from free-range hens. Rana, on the other hand, specifies the use of 'feed of vegetable origin': no ​​animal protein to the hens, therefore, but also vegetable GMOs.

Ingredients Made in Italy:, Esselunga al top

Esselunga it stands out clearly for the choice of ingredients of Italian origin. In the two products with ricotta and spinach he uses wheat, eggs, spinach, extra virgin olive oil and 100% milk Made in Italy.

The Italian origin it is obviously linked to the DOP and IGP ingredients. It is also recalled by Coop for its eggs and by Fini for the 100% Italian flours used in its 'bronze-drawn rough sheet', a process of which we reported.

Fresh pasta filled with ricotta and spinach

In the ricotta and spinach version, the quantity of the main ingredient - ricotta - varies a lot. As the table shows, considering the Tortelloni format only, the percentage varies from 12% of Lidl to 29% of Consilia. The origin of the milk from which the whey to make ricotta comes is unknown. Only Esselunga specifies its Italian origin.

As for the other ingredients characterizing, for spinach it goes from 4% of Consilia to 14% of Lidl. Eurospin also adds powdered spinach. For eggs, on the other hand, the range ranges from 10 to 16,5%. These values, as mentioned, are not indicated correctly on the label, but are the result of the recalculation carried out by us in compliance with the QUID.

tab1 fresh pasta filled with ricotta and spinach

Problematic fats, salt and additives

Saturated fats they are extremely variable in fresh pasta filled with ricotta and spinach. In the 12 products compared, they range from a minimum of 1,6 g / 100g of Buitoni to 6,7 g / 100g of Fior Fiore.

Widen the scissors also for salt, whose concentration ranges from 0,60% to over double, 1,40%. On the podium of the saltiest are the products of Rana (sfogliavelo), Fini and Eurospin.

In two products - Fior Fiore Coop and Conad - the emulsifier E471 is also present. The infamous mono and diglycerides of fatty acids, from palm oil or animal fats, are potentially harmful to the intestinal microbiota, as seen.

Fresh pasta stuffed with meat

Different taste, same dysfunctions. In the 12 fresh pasta products filled with meat, the label always violates the QUID rule, recalculated in the correct way in our table below. The virtuous exception of Coop and Consilia is this time followed in part by Carrefour Extra which correctly indicates the percentage of the characterizing ingredients, but only in half.

The abyss it is joined instead by Esselunga, which in the fresh pasta stuffed with meat of the line low cost Smart 'forgets' even to specify the quantity of meat, the characterizing ingredient par excellence.

The amount of meat (also in this case recalculated by us in compliance with the QUID) varies from 10,64% of Fini to 27% of Lidl and Rana. It is almost always only pork, sometimes with the addition of small quantities of beef and mortadella. In addition to meats, breadcrumbs, vegetable fiber, potatoes, etc.

The eggsfinally, they vary from 12 to 19%.

Additives to do without

Meat products in the fillings they sometimes show the presence of nitrites, preservatives which it is good to do without following the example of France which is eliminating them by law, such as we reported. Here they are declared in Coop tortellini (E250) and could still be present in other filled pasta, even if not mentioned on the label.

Another problematic additive is glutamate (E621), the absence of which is instead at the top of the claim that drive sales, like emerged from the report I guess. Indifferent to the wishes of consumers, Esselunga adds them to all three of its meat products.

tab2 fresh meat stuffed meat

Salt and saturated fats

Salt it is an insidious element in fresh pasta. In the 12 products examined, it ranges from 0,50% of Coop tortellini to unsustainable 2,4% of Carrefour Extra tortellini. A portion of the latter therefore provides 3,2g of salt, compared to one maximum threshold indicated by WHO in 5g /its general.

Saturated fats they are also subject to wide variations, from 1,4% of Consilia to 4,1% of Rana Sfogliavelo and Esselunga Smart.

Fresh pasta filled with ham

Of the 14 products evaluated, 4 employ Parma ham PDO. Esselunga contains the highest percentage, 12,6% in the Top line and 10,36% in the 'classic' brand product. The two follow discount Lidl and Eurospin who also add another prominent DOP, Grana Padano DOP and Parmigiano Reggiano DOP.

Parmigiano Reggiano DOP it also appears in the Consilia product (4%), to enhance a raw ham-based filling (6%) of unknown origin. For the rest of the sample, raw ham (anonymous) is present in quantities ranging from 2,8% of Buitoni to 15% of Coop. We repeat, to the point of boredom, that the percentages of the ingredients are recalculated correctly, therefore they do not correspond to what is wrongly stated on the label by almost all producers (Coop and Consilia excluded).

Salt it varies from 0,96 g / 100g of Esselunga products to 1,90 g / 100g of Rana Sfogliavelo (2,37g of salt for a 125g portion and 4,75g for the whole package). Saturated fats, on the other hand, range from 1,2 by Carrefour Simpl to 3,5 by Esselunga Top.

tab3 fresh pasta filled with ham

Food additives, the latest unwelcome surprises

As for fresh pasta stuffed with meat, even the version with raw ham fears the risk of finding unwanted additives, which are now easily avoidable. In 4 products - by Conad, Coop, Carrefour and Eurospin - nitrites appear. Carrefour and Conad even add emulsifiers.

The other ingredient characterizing, the eggs, varies from 9,6% of Lidl Italiamo to over double, 20% of Rana Rustici.

Marta Strinati


(1) Dario Dongo. Compound ingredients and QUIDs on the label, widespread deceptions. 1.6.19 https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/etichette/ingredienti-composti-e-quid-in-etichetta-inganni-diffusi

Marta Strinati

Professional journalist since January 1995, he has worked for newspapers (Il Messaggero, Paese Sera, La Stampa) and periodicals (NumeroUno, Il Salvagente). She is the author of journalistic surveys on food, she has published the book "Reading labels to know what we eat".

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