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Hell Pizza told off, but not punished over advertising of meatless 'medium-rare burger patty' product

Hell Pizza has escaped punishment over its meat free publicity stunt, but has strong criticism from government officials.

In June, the Ministry of Primary Industries received four complaints after the company sold plant-based pizzas as a "medium-rare burger patty" pizzas to customers.

Hell said it wanted to introduce its customers to meat-free options and see if they could tell the difference. More than 3000 customers responded to a Hell survey after trying the pizza, in which 80 per cent of respondents said they were unfazed to find out the pizza was meat-free.

Following the complaints, MPI investigated the fact that the pizza did not mention the burger patty was derived from a pea protein.

A ministry spokesperson said Hell's failure to disclose this information saw them violate the requirements of the Australia New Zealand Food Code.

The safety code requires a true description of food products, so people know exactly what they are buying, especially with regard to allergens.

The spokesperson said the pea protein used in the pizza was not a listed allergen, therefore there was no legal requirement for Hell to disclose that the "meat" was derived from a pea protein.

However, MPI said the pizza was marketed in a way where people could think they didn't need to request allergy information.

The spokesperson said Hell Pizza would not receive a formal warning or more serious action because the situation did not meet the necessary threshold for such a response.

A number of factors were taken into consideration, MPI said, such as Hell's compliance history and the fact there were no reports of illness from people who ate the pizza.

The spokesperson said Hell Pizza have been advised to follow the food safety standards in the future.

rnz.co.nz

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