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Call for traffic light labels on cereals

By: The Food Coach

A recent study by food quality pressure group The Parents Jury and nutritionist Rosemary Stanton has uncovered damning evidence with regards to several breakfast cereals. The study compared packaging claims and marketing slogans with actual ingredients in products such as Kellogg's Nutri-Grain, Nestle Milo, Lowan Coca Bombs and Sanitarium's Weet-Bix.

Kellogg's Nutri Grain claims to provide "protein for muscle development" and "calcium for bone strength", however, the cereal is very low in fibre and high in both sugar and salt. Dr STanton stated "Not even the added vitamins and minerals can make up for the fact that this product is almost one-third sugar."

Lowan Cocoa Bombs is "deceptively positioned as a health food in the supermarket because it is gluten free, yet its top two ingredients are rice flour and sugar, making it a poor choice for children regardless of their dietary requirements." Nestle Milo's package shows ticks and statements about its fibre and wholegrain content, yet "with its 30 per cent sugar content Milo cereal cannot claim any superior moral ground for good nutrition," Dr Stanton said.

Yet Sanitarium Weetbix for Kids was praised for living up to all of its on-pack claims.

Greens MP John Kaye suggests that food regulators need to introduce a traffic light labelling system whereby products show a green, amber or red light to make it easier for parents to discern the best products available.

"Using a familiar traffic light analogy with red for dangerous amounts, green for safe and amber for foods that should be consumed in moderation, the UK front-of-package labelling offers real hope for parents," Mr Kaye said in a statement on Monday.


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