The Health News Australia July 25 2017

Overview

  • Little Kids Shredz, a food for toddlers marketed as being made almost entirely from fruit and vegetables contains so much sugar it should be deemed confectionery by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
  • The Mater Hospital in Queensland has put its name to an advertising campaign by New Hope Group calling for the state government to approve its New Acland stage three mine, despite its landmark rejection by Queensland’s land court.  
  • According to new research, 7 out of 10 packaged foods contain added sugar that is not clearly identified by nutrition labels. Experts found foods with low nutritional value such as cakes, pies, ice cream, pastries, processed meats, potato chips and soft drinks contained on average almost four times more added sugar than foods such as cheese, milk, bread, yogurts or plain cereals like oats.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 25th of July 2017. Read by Tabetha Moreto. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-07-24/heinzs-toddler-snack-should-be-confectionery,-court-hears/8737926

A food for toddlers marketed as being made almost entirely from fruit and vegetables contains so much sugar it should be deemed confectionery by experts, the Federal Court has heard.

Legal action against food giant Heinz has started in Adelaide, with the consumer watchdog alleging the “Little Kids Shredz” range misleads the public about the nutritional content of the product. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission launched the legal action in June last year, after a complaint by the Obesity Policy Coalition about food products for toddlers.

The packaging of the Shredz products features images of fruit and vegetables and states it is “ninety nine percent fruit and veg”. But in his opening address, counsel representing the ACCC, Tom Duggan, told the court the “berries, apple and veg” variety contains sixty eight point seven grams of sugar per one hundred grams. “This product has added sugar, as a consequence it is not a nutritious alternative to the fruit and vegetables depicted on the packaging,” he said.

Mister Duggan said the court would hear evidence about the use of apple juice concentrate in the product which is an added sugar and that there are two important differences between the Shredz product and dried fruit, one is the addition of the apple juice concentrate.

“Accepting that it is a naturally occurring sugar, it is still an added sugar.” The court heard the sugar content of the product defies Heinz’s own health guidelines.

“Heinz’s internal guide specifies that the less than thirty percent [sugar] guide includes the use of fruit juice and fruit paste,” Mister Duggan said. Nutritionist and dietician Rosemary Stanton gave evidence to the court. Doctor Stanton, who helped devise the Australian dietary guidelines, said the bars more closely resembled confectionery than fruit or vegetables.

“Confectionery with added vitamins is still confectionery,” she said.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/jul/22/brisbanes-mater-hospital-defends-backing-coalmine-advertising-campaign

A major Queensland hospital, and the mining magnate who heads its board, have defended publicly backing a new coal mine that a court ruled should not go ahead after the company possibly breached air pollution limits. The Mater hospital has put its name to an advertising campaign by New Hope Group calling for the state government to approve its New Acland stage three mine, despite its landmark rejection by Queensland’s land court. Doctors, including one who works at the Brisbane hospital’s refugee clinic, have condemned the move, calling for the Mater to abandon support for a project that raised public health concerns. David King, a state representative of Doctors for the Environment Australia who chose to speak out despite his contract with the hospital.

The chairman of the Mater Group board is Brian Flannery, a prominent mining entrepreneur and BRW rich lister who is also the managing director of White Energy, which aims to become “a major player in the production of cleaner and more efficient coal”.

The hospital board’s deputy chair is Flannery’s fellow White Energy director Terence Crawford.

A third White Energy director, Vince O’Rourke, who is also a director of the thermal coal producer Yancoal Australia, is also on the Mater board. The trio’s industry links are detailed on the hospital’s website. It is unclear whether those individuals were involved in the decision to support New Hope. The Mater, believed to be the only major Queensland hospital that still burns coal on site to carry out sterilisation and other activities, is a longtime customer of New Hope.

The advertisements are part of a campaign by New Hope that one advertising industry figure estimated has cost more than two hundred thousand dollars, and which had previously prompted a complaint to the consumer watchdog. “I’m sure [New Hope] thought it was a coup to get a hospital logo on their ad,” King said. “It looks like they were desperate to get some health/greenwashing to give them some approval to get the social licence for such a thing.”

But King said the hospital was “sending the wrong message”, particularly when there had been “health concerns with that particular mine”.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-07-25/food-health-rating-labels-failing-to-fully-reveal-added-sugars/8738634

Seven out of ten packaged foods contain added sugar that is not clearly identified by nutrition labels, according to new research. Professor Bruce Neal from the George Institute for Global Health in Sydney reviewed more than thirty four thousand packaged foods with health-star ratings. These are the voluntary front-of-pack labels, designed to help people make healthier choices. But health experts said naturally occurring sugars found in fruits, vegetables and dairy were treated the same as sugars added during food processing.

Professor Neal said that good sugars are an integral part of a healthy diet and we need to be able to separate sugars naturally present in dairy, fruits and vegetables from sugars added during manufacturing and added sugars are empty calories and a major contributing factor to the obesity epidemic and tooth decay. Australians would be much better off if they could quickly and easily see how much sugar has been added. Experts found foods with low nutritional value such as cakes, pies, ice cream, pastries, processed meats, potato chips and soft drinks contained on average almost four times more added sugar than foods such as cheese, milk, bread, yogurts or plain cereals like oats.

In the US, labels on packaged foods have been amended to reflect new scientific information, including the link between diet and chronic diseases such as obesity and heart disease. From two thousand and eighteen, US food manufacturers will have to include both total and added sugars on food labels.Professor Neal said Australia should follow suit.

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