Packaged foods delivering misleading health claims: survey

Some packaged foods carry misleading information about fruit
and vegetable content on their packaging, Cancer Council NSW says.

Almost half (48 per cent) of the packaged fruit and
vegetable-based products surveyed by Cancer Council NSW made fruit and
vegetable claims on the packaging, despite some having as little as 13 per cent
fruit content.

Co-author of the report and Nutrition Program Manager at
Cancer Council NSW, Clare Hughes, said that as well as exploring fruit and/or
vegetable content, the study also looked at the nutrient make-up of these
products.

“What we found was that these products contained much less
dietary fibre and much more energy, saturated fat, sugar and sodium than their
fresh fruit or vegetable equivalent, making them a poor substitute for the real
thing,” she said in a statement.

Currently, these foods do not have to meet Australia New
Zealand Food Standards Code nutrient criteria to be able to carry these claims
and so can appear, without regulation, on products which are nutritionally
unhealthy.

Cancer Council NSW is urging the Australian government to
strengthen the Food Standards Code which does not currently regulate fruit and
vegetable claims on food labels.

“We need tighter regulation of products that may lead
Australians to believe they are contributing positively to their recommended
two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables per day, where instead they
are consuming less fibre, and more energy, saturated fat, sugar and sodium,”
said Hughes.

Roll Ups, made by Nestle, are a product which makes the
claim “made with real fruit” on its packaging.

A Nestle spokeswoman told the Age that was not a health
claim, but a content claim.

“Roll Ups contain concentrated puree from real fruit as
clearly stated in the ingredient list on the back of the pack,” she said.

“Roll Ups are a fun, portion-controlled treat.”

Image: Good Food