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Court action begins over 'unhealthy' Heinz snack

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Food giant Heinz marketed a snack food as nutritious for young children but a nutritionist would call it confectionery, the Federal Court has been told.

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The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has opened court action in Adelaide against H.J. Heinz Company Australia Ltd in relation to the promotion of Shredz which it alleges the company falsely marketed as healthy options for young children.

Tom Duggan SC, for the ACCC, told the court today that the company made three representations on its packaging including that the snack had the same nutritional value as fresh fruit, that it was a nutritious food for children aged one to three and that it would encourage healthy eating habits.

But he said the products contained added sugar in the form of apple juice concentrate and some of the snacks were more than 60 per cent sugar.

He said an expert witness would call the product confectionary.

“They are too energy dense. They contain too much sugar,” Mr Duggan said.

In a statement ahead of the hearing, Heinz said it strongly rejected claims made against it about the packaging of the three dehydrated, fruit-based, snacks.

“The Shredz products were snack foods available in small individually packaged serves appropriate for children aged one to three,” it said.

“The Shredz products had a similar nutrition profile to dried apple or sultanas. Heinz stands behind the Shredz products and their packaging.”

Although the product is no longer on the market, the Shredz range included three varieties – peach apple and veg, berries apple and veg, and strawberry and apple with chia seeds.

The hearing was continuing with evidence for the ACCC to be given by high-profile nutritionist Rosemary Stanton.

– AAP

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