Many labels on food 'misleading'

UK - The nutritional information on some food products is "wildly inaccurate", a consumer magazine has warned.

Which? looked at 570 nutrients in 70 products and found just 7% exactly matched the quantities on the labels.

Some 17% fell outside the accepted 20% margin of error, including a "kids" pizza with 47% more sugar than stated.

Currently there is no specific law about how accurate the information on food labels should be - they need only show average nutrition values.

These can be worked out in different ways, none of which is 100% reliable.

The most accurate method is to analyse the food.

But even this is not foolproof, as batches of the same food can differ nutritionally.

Lacors, the body that advises trading standards officers about enforcing food laws, says that an error margin of 20% either side of the labelled value was acceptable.

This can be as high as 30% where nutrients make up between 2% and 5% of a food.

Which? editor Malcolm Coles said: "Nutrition labels help people compare foods and make healthy choices, but only if they're accurate.

"How can you trust what you're eating when so many labels fall outside even the fairly generous margins of error allowed?"

Source: BBC
calendar icon 3 March 2005
clock icon 1 minute read
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