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Hell Pizza and MPI to meet over vegetarian pizza advertised as 'a medium rare burger patty'

The Ministry for Primary Industries will meet with Hell Pizza bosses to discuss requirements of the Food Act following the fast-food outlet's controversial new burger pizza.

Hell Pizza general manager Ben Cumming told TVNZ1's Seven Sharp last week he didn't think the company "outwardly" deceived people by advertising a new pizza as including "a medium rare burger patty" when the patty was actually a vegetable product.

The company had its new "burger pizza" for sale the week before. Thousands of Kiwis around the country bought them, most assuming "a medium rare burger patty" meant a meat patty.

But, Seven Sharp reports the patties actually contained plant-based pea protein and were made by US company Beyond Meat.

Mr Cumming was asked if he thought the company has deceived people. "Look, no, I don't think we've deceived people outwardly," he replied.

Hell Pizza cares about the planet and offered the burger pizza because it wanted to "make people a bit more aware of what was out there in the world of plant-based meat options", he said. 

Today, MPI tweeted back to criticism saying it was aware consumers have raised concerns about the pizza.

"We're meeting Hell Pizza to discuss requirements of the Food Act, including the importance of consumers being aware of ingredients so they can make informed decisions, incl decisions about allergies," MPI wrote.

People have taken to Twitter to complain about the ingredients not being obvious, with one saying it would be "very dangerous" if people ate it without knowing what was in it then had an allergic reaction. 

"I am all for vege burgers, but you must tell people," another person wrote.

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The food retailer indicated ingredients included “a medium rare burger patty”. Source: Seven Sharp