Consumers routinely misled about nutrition, association claims

Nutrition values (Picture: Twitter/@kevinnbass)Nutrition values (Picture: Twitter/@kevinnbass)

The Consumers Association has filed a report with the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority regarding food manufactures' "misleading claims" about nutrition values. According to the Association, manufacturers lead consumers to believe that unhealthy products are better or healthier than similar products by claiming that they are "rich in fiber", "low fat" or "high in vitamin C".

The Consumers Association announced this on Monday. "The law is clear: information on the label may not be misleading. Labels must not suggest that the food is better than similar foods that have the same characteristics", according to Bart Combee, director of the Association.

The Association found two types of abuse with nutritional claims in the investigated supermarkets. "So manufacturers unfairly try to make products look better or healthier by, for example, putting 'source of fiber' on gingerbread, while all ordinary gingerbread is a source of fiber", according to the association. Manufacturers also deceive consumers into thinking a product is healthy by, for example, putting "with B-vitamins" on sweets or claiming that chips and pretzels are a "source of fiber".

"Be alert: a nice claim often conceals something unhealthy", according to Combee. "Healthy products do not need nutrition claims after all. Who has ever seen a carrot with a label stating 'fat free', 'high fiber' and 'rich in vitamins'?"