Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Myth of 'Healthy' Foods

In more interesting news out of Britain, a recent survey showed that nine out of ten mothers were misled by labelling on food packaging.

The BBC reports that the survey, conducted by the British Heart Foundation, found that "mothers believe claims such as 'a source of calcium, iron and six vitamins' mean a product is likely to be healthy." The truth, the foundation revealed, is that an average serving of a product that claims to be made with whole grains and "keep your heart healthy and maintain a healthy body," such as Nestle's Honey Shreddies, actually contain more sugar than a donut.

As part of its Food4Thought campaign, the BHF examines how food manufacturers manipulate parents through distracting health-like claims to market breakfast foods and lunchbox snacks.

The report is a call to action, indicating the need for stronger regulation of junk food marketing. The BHF is asking for:
  • A ban on all junk food advertising on television before 9 p.m., allowing parents to be confident that any products they see advertised before that time are suitable for a child’s healthy diet.
  • Legislation in the UK to make the regulatory framework consistent. "There must be equally stringent measures across broadcast and non-broadcast marketing and an end to the loophole that allows the claims that are outlawed in television campaigns to still be made on product packaging."
  • A mandatory front of pack food labelling system to help parents understand the nutritional values of the products they are purchasing.

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