It's Junk Food for Babies, Warns Children’s Food Campaign, UK

by Gopalan on  May 5, 2009 at 10:57 AM Child Health News
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 It's Junk Food for Babies, Warns Children’s Food Campaign, UK
More bad news on UK foods supposedly designed for children. They are found to be high in saturated fat, salt and sugar.

A survey of more than 100 foods by the Children's Food Campaign (CFC) showed that the products targeting babies and toddlers could actually be harming their health.

Cheeseburgers and chocolate biscuits are perhaps healthier than some foods designed for babies, the Campaign remarked acidly.

Only a few days ago consumer watchdog Which? said sugar levels were "shockingly high" in cereals. It had examined 100 cereals bought in January from the main supermarkets and said it was "particularly worrying" that so many high-sugar cereals were targeting children.

It looks like the problem of a poor diet and obesity starts in the cradle for millions.

The CFC said Farley's Original Rusks from Heinz contain more sugar per gram than McVities Dark Chocolate Digestives.

Toddler's Own Mini Cheese Biscuits from Heinz had more saturated fat per gram than a McDonald's quarter pounder with cheese.
And Cow & Gate Baby Balance Bear Biscuits contained trans-fats, which are linked to high cholesterol and clogged arteries.

The researchers said that only half the products surveyed were low in saturated fat, salt and sugar.

Just one quarter of Heinz products met this standard. As many as one in nine Cow & Gate products in the survey was high in sugar.

Christine Haigh, of the Children's Food Campaign, said: 'Many foods marketed for babies and young children are often advertised as "healthy."

'In reality, in terms of sugar and saturated fat content, some are worse than junk food. In particular, failing to correctly label products that contain dangerous trans fats is outrageous.'

She said the manufacturers were sometimes secretive about their ingredients.

She called for the Department of Health to obtain a commitment from companies to reformulate their products to remove transfats and reduce the amount of saturated fat, salt and sugar.

Heinz called some of the comparisons misleading. Corporate affairs director Nigel Dickie said that its Farley's Rusks were enriched with vitamins and minerals, and parents could choose an alternative with 30 per cent less sugar.

Mr Dickie added: 'Our mini cheese biscuits come in a 25g portion size which contains only 1.8g saturated fat per serving.

'It is quite misleading to compare our product with a McDonald's quarter pounder with cheese which is consumed in a portion size of 194g, containing a total of 13g saturated fat per serving.'

But Cow & Gate said it is discontinuing its Bear, Berry Bear and Animal Friends biscuits following discussions with the Food Standards Agency, after having become aware of the presence of hydrogenated fat - which contains trans fats.

The Children's Food Campaign, backed by over 300 different organizations, has been working to improve the food the British children eat.  From improving school meals to pushing for more restrictions on junk food marketing, the Campaign works by lobbying government to push for change on such fronts.

Source: Medindia

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