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HomeNewsUK NewsNestlé adds sugar in baby food sold in poor countries: Study

Nestlé adds sugar in baby food sold in poor countries: Study

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Food and beverages major Nestlé adds sugar and honey to infant milk and cereal products sold in poorer countries, contrary to international guidelines, while this is not done in products sold in European markets and the UK, a report has found.

Campaigners from Public Eye, a Swiss investigative organisation, arrived at these findings after they got the samples of the Swiss multinational’s baby-food products sold in Asia, Africa and Latin America tested at a Belgian laboratory.

The results, and examination of product packaging, revealed added sugar in the form of sucrose or honey in samples of Nido, meant for infants aged one and above, and Cerelac, a cereal aimed at children aged between six months and two years.

Tests on Cerelac products sold in India showed, on average, more than 2.7g of added sugar for every serving.

Biscuit-flavoured cereals for babies aged six months and older contained 6g of added sugar for every serving in Senegal and South Africa, while the same product sold in Switzerland has none.

Tests on Nido products revealed significant variations in sugar levels across the world.

Both Cerelac and Nido have worldwide sales of more than $1 billion (£800 million) each.

In Nestlé’s European markets, there is no added sugar in formulas for babies between six months and one year, while some cereals aimed at older toddlers contain added sugar.

World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines say no added sugars or sweetening agents should be permitted in any food for children under three as they could trigger obesity.

In Africa, the number of overweight children under five has increased by nearly 23 per cent since 2000. Globally, more than one billion people are living with obesity, the WHO added.

The UK recommends that children under four avoid food with added sugars because of risks including weight gain and tooth decay. US government guidelines recommend avoiding foods and drinks with added sugars for those younger than two.

Public Eye has attacked Nestlé for its double standards and wanted the company to stop adding sugar worldwide in all products meant for children under three years old.

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