Test-achats: different hespen contain too little meat to ham to be called

Some hespen in the Belgian supermarkets contain so many additives and ‘stuffing’ that they are outside the statutory definition of boiled ham attack. This is apparent from a comparative test of Test-achats.

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Test-achats, submitted a total of 34 products to a test. Eight of them mentioned no meat percentage. Ten products gave a meat percentage lower than 95%, and one even 72 percent. Three cheaper products contain too much moisture and too little vleeseiwit, so they barely met the legal definition of ham.

The defatted ham Horeca Select does not conform consistently to the current Belgian legislation, and according to Test-aankoop, therefore, be better if ‘cooked meat, pic-nic’ to be sold. Also the gammon of Albert Heijn and the ham without rind of White Products comply according to the test results not comply with the Belgian legislation.

Single quality standards

The problem with latter two is that this is not mandatory, because they are from respectively the Netherlands and France are introduced. Test-aankoop calls, therefore, long for a more unified European quality standards, but points out that just the opposite happens.

‘Not long ago, the ‘mayonnaise-KB’ custom by minister of Economy and Consumer affairs Kris Peeters, with the quality standards set down were needed. Also the KB on ham is in the pipeline, and a similar result, softening of the requirements, is expected. Apparently, the minister is more concerned with the economy than with the consumer’, it sounds.


The customer is advised on the label to look. The industrial variants in the refrigerators of the supermarket often contain cheap vulingrediënten (water, starch and gelatin), and pre-packed cooked ham often contains a lot of additives. It is not enough to E-numbers on the label to avoid, because manufacturers they often dodge them by alternative names. Also promises as “no added nitrite’ turned out not always to be correct.

Also read: common additives in processed foods and what they mean

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