Lunchbox alert: Parents warned

Consumer group Which? claims children’s lunch food still too high in sugar and salt

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Parents are being told to be extra vigilant about the pre-packaged food they give their children for lunch. The consumer testing organisation Which? assessed the nutritional content of several children’s food products and reported that many that seem healthy, actually had high levels of sugar and salt.

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Robinsons Fruit Shoot orange drinks, Munch Bunch Double Up Fromage Frais, Dairylea Lunchable Ham ‘n’ Cheese Crackers and Kellogg’s Frosties Cereal and Milk Bars were among those tested in the report, which called for much tougher rules on being able to market a product as ‘healthy’.

“Some products give the impression of being healthy but are full of salt and sugar,” said Which? magazine editor, Martyn Hocking.

However, the food manufacturing industry hit back at the report, claiming that it seemed to be based on “flawed thinking and an apparently random survey”. Manufacturers pointed out that they now have full nutrition tables on their packaging. “We provide clear nutritional information on packs so that parents can make an informed choice about what suits them and their families,” said a spokesperson from Robinsons Fruit Shoot drinks.

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The main thing is to read the nutritional content of processed food before you give it to your child and balance it with a mixture of fresh food. “The best way to beat the lunch-box baddies is by checking the ingredient information,” advised the Which? report. “We’d also like to see the rules on health and nutrition claims made tougher so there’s less confusion on the supermarket shelves.”

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