Fact Sheets

Season 5, Ep 6 - Pies and Pastries

     

- Every year we polish off around 70 million pies in New Zealand which is believed to makes us the biggest pie eaters in the world.

- Contrary to popular belief most pies do not contain a golf ball-sized lump of fat – most varieties contain at least 10 grams less fat than this.

-The type of fat in pastry tends to be saturated fat which encourages your body to make cholesterol, which puts you at risk of heart disease.

-Meaty fillings contribute about an equal amount of fat to a pie or sausage roll as the pastry, some of which is saturated.

-On average sausage rolls contain more saturated fat than pies. One can provide well over half the maximum you should eat a day.

-Research suggests bakery bought mince pies contain a lower percentage of fat than manufactured mince pies.

-There are 3 reasons why fat is so satisfying in a pie; The fat carries the flavour, so the flavour is enhanced because it’s in a fat matrix. The fat contributes to the texture of the pie. Fat takes longer to digest therefore you feel fuller for longer.

-If you get a pie that’s been contaminated with bacterium like staphylococcus, you may develop symptoms including vomiting, stomach cramps and diarrhoea within half an hour.

-If you are feeling ill, more than six hours after eating the pie, it’s more likely to be something else.

-If a pie contaminated with staphylococcus is stored unfrozen at less than 75 degrees, the bacteria will multiply, creating toxins and would make you ill after consumption.

-A recent study found residues of four different pesticides in pies at safe levels- and seven of the eight pies tested contained at least one.

-Pesticides can get into pies in two ways: either via the meat which comes from an animal that's grazed on grass that's been treated with pesticides; or the wheat that's used to make the flour in the pastry may be grown in a field that's been treated with pesticides.

-A pie that describes itself as a meat pie whether chicken, beef or lamb must contain 25% meat.

-Sausages must contain at least 50% meat but no such rule governs sausage rolls and many brands contain less than 20%.

-By law only "meat flesh" is allowed in meat pies. This doesn't include any animal parts, which aren't attached to muscle but can include animal rind, fat, connective tissue, blood, blood vessels and, for poultry, skin.

-Prior to 2007 the law allowed a wider range of animal trimmings to be used in pies including lips, cheeks, sinew and tongues.

-Fat shortens the gluten strands in the dough of sweet pastries which would otherwise make it tough and elastic as you get in bread. In puff pastry, fat is layered into the dough to enable it to rise in the oven. This provides the flaky texture of the finished product.

-Solid fats must be used in pastry as only they have the required functionality. These are either saturated or trans fats, both of which raise cholesterol and the risk of heart disease.

-There's no requirement to label trans-fat in New Zealand but most major pie manufacturers use less than 1% in their pastry.

-The Ministry of Health puts pies into the occasional food category. That means eating them a maximum of four times a year.

-Filo is a healthier pastry option with virtually no trans or saturated fat.

-Some of our most popular brands of pies and sausage rolls contain up to 20 additives.

-Emulsifiers are added to keep the fat and water evenly dispersed throughout a pie when thawed from frozen.

-Manufacturers add preservatives to prevent spoilage by mould and bacteria.

-Antioxidants are added to stop the fat in the pastry and filling from going rancid.

-MSG is present in mothers’ milk and can also be added as a flavour enhancer in pies.

-MSG is also naturally present in some foods, but is labelled as E621 when used as an additive.

-It's estimated less than 1% of the population is MSG sensitive.

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