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What’s in your doner?

What’s in your doner?

A new study by council food standards officers released earlier this week (26.1.09) has revealed shocking figures about the content of doner kebabs.

The study was coordinated by LACORS (Local Authority Coordinators of Regulatory Services). Officers from 76 councils throughout the UK sampled 494 doner kebabs to check the meat content, labelling and nutritional value.

The study found a major issue with food labelling, 40% of sampled kebabs that provided labelling information did not have an exact declaration for the meat species present. Only 34% of kebabs collected contained only sheep meat. In 15% of cases, beef was found in the kebab, but not declared on the label. In fact, 35% of the labels listed different meat species from that actually contained in the kebab. Alarmingly, six kebabs tested positive for pork when it had not been declared as an ingredient, of which two were claimed as Halal.

The study examined the nutritional value of a doner kebab in pita bread, without salad or sauces, finding:

  • the average kebab contains 98% of the Guideline Daily Amount (GDA) salt intake
  • the average kebab contained nearly 1000 calories – half a woman’s GDA food intake
  • the average kebab contains 148% of GDA saturated fat.

The survey also showed that a doner kebab could be far worse for you than the average statistics suggest, with the worst kebabs containing:

  • 1990 calories before salad and sauces – over 95% of a woman’s GDA calorie intake
  • 346% of a woman’s GDA saturated fat intake
  • 277% of an adult’s GDA salt intake.

If the doner kebab was classified using the traffic light system, which is used in supermarkets to classify pre-packaged food:

  • 97 per cent would be red for fat
  • 98 per cent would be red for saturated fat
  • 96 per cent would be red for salt.

It makes a difference where in the UK you buy your kebab, as the North West averaged over 1100 calories per kebab. In Northern Ireland and London the figures were more modest at 843 and 912 calories per kebab respectively. The South West of England supplied five of the worst ten kebabs collected in the study.

Cllr Geoffrey Theobald OBE, chairman of LACORS, said, “We would never consider kebabs part of a calorie controlled diet, but the level of saturated fat and salt in some is a serious cause for concern.”

To read the full report visit

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