Which? calls on government to fix food labelling 'chaos'

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An advisor to President Nixon testified that rats fed a diet of ground-up cereal boxes with sugar and milk were healthier than rats fed the cereal itself! A comparison of the breakfast cereals and own-brand equivalents in by Which? Cereals are promoted as healthy foods but some products are on the wrong shelf and should be among the biscuits. Traffic light colour codes: See page 31 for more info. Unsurprisingly, cereal giant Kellogg has said that parents, not the government, should make cereal choices for children, and rejects the proposal for a sugar limit.

In , Ofcom introduced regulations to stop food high in sugar, salt and fat being advertised on television to children. But cereal companies are big advertisers and had a lot to lose. This means that products high in sugar and salt which would score red on the traffic light labelling scheme can still be advertised to children because of the added nutrients they might have.

Porridge and muesli best buys on the score table are a healthier option and weight for weight will generally give much better value for money than more processed cereals. Always look for no added sugar options. The cereals market is a great example of the healthiest and most sustainable options being much cheaper than the mainstream offerings.

Contrary to claims that ethical always means more expensive, organic oats offer great value for money compared to branded non-organic cereals.

Fruit is a healthy way to start the day. Everyone is different and for many people, work patterns will dictate what is practical. All agree that fruit is an important part of any healthy breakfast and it makes the perfect addition to a bowl of porridge or muesli as well as being something easy to grab as you walk out of the door.

Bread or toast is another option — see our product guide to bread for the health pitfalls here. Yoghurt is another option — go for soya to avoid the animal welfare and health concerns associated with dairy and if you do have cereal, opt for non-dairy milk for the same reasons. The health implications of cooked breakfasts and patisserie items are fairly obvious. Suffice to say that Danish pastries and croissants are generally loaded with sugar and butter.

If you are opting for a cooked breakfast, a veggie option is a much healthier choice that will set you up for the day. Less talked about than the health concerns associated with breakfast cereals is their inflated cost.

Take a perfectly healthy grain that can be eaten as it is with nothing added, process it, add sugar and salt, package it and sell it to the consumer for twice the price — at least. A good like for like comparison is branded oats and branded oat cereal.

Weetabix states that all its wheat and oats are sourced from the UK, with all of its wheat being sourced from within 50 miles of its Burton Latimer headquarters. Raisio is the company behind Sugar Puffs but it also makes another version of puffed wheat. PepsiCo is number two to Coca-Cola in the world of soft drinks but leads the world in snacks with its Doritos, Walkers and Red Sky brands.

There is currently a petition running on change. Potential health effects include altered thyroid function, reduced fertility and neurological damage. The ingredient is banned in the European Union and Japan. Nestlé failed to label GM ingredients in its products in South Africa and Brazil, even though national laws there required it to do so.

The case will be held in Switzerland and will be the first time a Swiss company has been held liable for a crime committed abroad. Owners of Dorset Cereals , Lydian Capital Partners, were implicated in a care home scandal last year when workers were jailed for physical and psychological abuse at a private hospital owned by its subsidiary company Castlebeck.

Doves Farm receives a mark in the animal rights category for breeding mule ewes on its farm which its website says are sold to local butchers. This product guide is part of a Special Report on the Food Industry. See what's in the rest of the report. Tweet this Share this. Detailed ethical ratings for over 40, companies, brands and products, plus Ethical Consumer magazine. Special report on the Food Industry.

Ethical shopping guide to Breakfast Cereals, from Ethical Consumer. The Full Score Table for this report is only available to Subscribers. Alara Fair Trade Muesli [F]. Alara Organic cereal [O]. Pertwood Organic cereals [O]. Infinity Foods breakfast cereal [O].

Suma organic muesli [O]. Amisa Organic Cereals [O]. Doves Farm organic cereals [O]. Rude Health organic cereals [O]. Yorkshire Hemp Museli [O]. Essential organic cereals [O]. Like other researchers, 8 , 16 , 17 we assumed that simultaneous improvements in the intake of all macronutrients would have a cumulative rather than a merely additive effect on mortality.

We therefore estimated the total benefit using the following standard formula: All modelling involves uncertainty. We therefore explored the effects of changes in food policy on CVD risk factors and deaths by performing a probabilistic sensitivity analysis. The uncertainty of the hazards ratio and the RR parameters were characterized using a log-normal distribution.

We performed Monte Carlo simulations, allowing the parameters based on the effect sizes obtained from the literature to vary stochastically. All calculations were performed separately for men and women and were stratified by age.

Reducing the total energy from trans fats by 0. The relative mortality contributions from these dietary changes remained reasonably consistent in robust sensitivity analyses Fig. The more substantial improvements would probably require more radical policy interventions.

Our estimate of approximately fewer CVD deaths following trans fat elimination is also reassuringly close to the quoted in a recent BMJ editorial.

Though less powerful, labelling regulations inform consumers, motivate industry to reformulate its products and favourably influence social norms. Many manufacturers have now reduced trans fat content. Diet powerfully contributes to health inequity. Low-income groups, which also suffer the highest burden of CVD and other chronic diseases, have consistently worse diet patterns.

Policy decisions at the European level can powerfully affect food availability and consumption at the national level, both directly and indirectly. The EU Common Agricultural Policy CAP , which massively influences agriculture and nutrition across Europe, has an annual expenditure of approximately 45 billion euros.

Other effective interventions also exist. Lessons from tobacco control appear surprisingly relevant. The key targets are affordability, accessibility and acceptability. Our study has several strengths. The methods employed are transparent and easily replicated. Risk factors were treated as continuous rather than categorical variables.

We also assumed that the benefits would be cumulative rather than additive. Our study also has limitations. We did not explicitly model lag times. However, substantial reductions in deaths from CVD following dietary changes can occur very rapidly in randomized cohorts and entire populations. We also assumed commercial vested interests could be minimised.

We also assumed that changes in dietary variable would be similar across all age groups. Variance and skew could be assessed in future models, along with compression of morbidity, social stratification and cumulative benefits over a lifetime. Another assumption was that any effects of dietary changes on mortality would wane with increasing age, as with cholesterol and blood pressure.

Furthermore, dietary changes may be more pronounced in younger people, meaning greater long-term benefits. We did not explicitly consider competing risks. However, healthier food and nutrient policies should also reduce rates of diabetes, common cancers and childhood obesity.

Furthermore, we only quantified averted deaths; proportional reductions in non-fatal conditions might reasonably be expected. Unlike colleagues in the Netherlands and US, we did not model the effect of increasing the intake of nuts, whole grains, sugars, fish or marine omega-3 fatty acids.

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