Trading Standards officers have criticised an FSA proposal to set a 1% threshold below which meat processors wouldn't have to tell consumers about starch and protein added to a product. They are concerned consumers will be misled if the information doesn't appear on the label. Starch is often added so meat retains extra water to improve texture, but at the moment it has to be declared on the label. "I'm struggling to see how a threshold will help," said David Pickering, joint lead officer for food at the Trading Standards Institute. "Either they're adding starch and protein or they're not." The threshold would make it harder to take companies to court for adulterating meat, he said. The FSA played down concerns, saying the changes were simply proposals. "Starch or protein would still appear on the label if its absence could mislead consumers," said a spokes­woman. Industry has been asked to comment by 30 November.

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