Added sugar in Nestle’s baby food in Asian, African countries

Same product sold in Europe did not have added sugars

FSSAI, said it would examine the findings and submit the outcome with the in-house scientific panel

Nestlé’s products for babies in Asia, Africa and Latin America were found to contain added sugars, while the same products sold in Europe did not, according to a recent report by a Swiss NGO, the Public Eye and International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN).

The report “How Nestlé gets children hooked on sugar in lower-income countries” faulted Nestlé for employing different nutritional standards in its offerings, depending on the country it served. Nestlé also did not make the quantity of sugar content clear on the products’ packaging, it said.

Around 150 baby products manufactured by the global food and beverage giant and sold in different countries were tested in a Belgian laboratory, according to IBFAN. It was found that all 15 Cerelac products for six-month-old babies, which are sold without any added sugars in the United Kingdom and Germany, contained 2.7 grams of added sugar per serving in India. Products sold in Ethiopia and Thailand contained nearly 6 grams, the report said.

In clarification Abneesh Roy, executive director, Nuvama Institutional Equities, told The Indian Express, “We do not see any significant impact of the sugar in baby food issue on the sales of Nestlé’s products in India because the company has reduced sugar content in the last five years by 30% in Indian products. My sense is they will keep doing that. Indian paediatricians are saying that below two years, there should not be any added sugars. I expect that Nestle will keep on doing the local R&D to reduce this further.”

FSSAI, the apex regulatory body for the food business, said it would examine the findings and submit the outcome with the in-house scientific panel for further action.


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