Food companies labelling fatty kids' snacks as healthy
Food manufacturers are using a loophole in trademark law to trick consumers into believing that products with high fat or sugar content are healthy, a study has revealed.
Consumer advocacy group Choice found that almost half of the 200 products - with healthy sounding names - had high levels of saturated fat, total fat, sugars or sodium.
"Manufacturers are trade marking healthy words such as 'natural', 'healthy' and 'fresh' to give the impression that a product is healthier than it seems," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Choice spokeswoman Ingrid Just as saying in a statement on Wednesday.
According to Just, such misleading claims cannot be used to promote foods that are not healthy or fresh, but she said that manufacturers are able to circumvent regulations by making false health claims, the paper said.
"Trademark law prohibits the registration of a trademark likely to deceive or cause confusion, but nutritional analysis is not part of the approval of new trade marks," she said.
Just has advised consumers to be wary when choosing products with healthy sounding brand names.
"Just because a product's brand name suggests that its healthy or natural doesn't necessarily mean its good for them (consumers) or the environment," she said.
She recommended people to assess the products' health values by reading the list of ingredients at the nutrition information panel.
She said that people must also look through marketing gimmicks and be especially vigilant with products plastered with terms like "natural, healthy and fresh."