Exit the “junk food”, in recent years, more and more consumers carefully select the products they put on their plate. The trend is organic, natural, short circuits, products more respectful of the environment and our health. At the same time, manufacturers compete for marketing ingenuity, inscribing sometimes very dubious health promises on packaging. All are not untruthful, but the Foodwatch activist association warns about a number of food scams it has found.
“Detox, anticancer, energy, slimming, good night, cholesterol … All health promises are not good to swallow,” warns Foodwatch who presented this Thursday, March 21 – as part of its campaign “Scam on the label “- the results of a survey conducted on some twenty products that promise” so-called virtues for health “. But “these are based mostly on … the wind,” writes the organization denouncing “a good dose of political aberration” and a way for industry to achieve “juicy profits.”
“Between the thousands of health claims blocked at the European Commission's deadline to validate them, the marketing pledges and other scams on the label, manufacturers can gleefully boost their sales by selling dream, “say the authors of the study.
Elephant, Lipton, La Tisanière, Tropicana, Innocent, Ricola, Fitness, Gerblé, Fruit d'Or …, are among the brands in the Foodwatch viewfinder who accused of affubler their products of mentions which “bait barge”.
“Food manufacturers have no limit … if the authorities do not ask them” says Foodwatch, and the institutions do not seem eager to put in.
“The European Commission needs to set clear rules by first reviewing the more than 2,000 health claims it has put on hold in 2012 and which can be used ever since,” recalls Mégane Ghorbani, Campaign Manager. at Foodwatch France, which believes that consumers “have the right to know whether the promises made on packaging are reliable or not.”
The organization denounces this situation. It calls for a tightening of the rules and demands from manufacturers and distributors “more transparency and honesty.”
Here are five examples of scams identified by Foodwatch:
1. Doubtful allegations
These mentions have never been validated by the authorities, says Foodwatch that reveals that these promises are ultimately closer to the intox.
Thus the infusion “Detox, no intox, queen of meadow, peppermint, blackcurrant” of the brand Elephant was spotted by the association. Meadowsweet (a herbaceous plant) has drainage and elimination properties. But this claim (n ° 3762) is among the list awaiting validation by the European Commission, knowing that for its part, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) had delivered in 2010 a negative opinion. A ubiquitous situation such as Foodwatch has even launched a petition against this herbal tea.
In the same category of products, Foodwatch also pins: green tea – Rosemary Verbena “Line” of Lipton, infusion “Well-being of the liver” of Jardin Bio, infusion drainage and elimination grapefruit La Tisanière or Celliflore “slimming tea”
2. Effects only if the product is consumed in large quantities
Like sterol-based or omega-3-rich margarines – such as fat-free bread and Auchan cooking – some products display healthy promises that, in the case of “normal” consumption, are in reality no effect. In the case of Auchan's product, it would indeed be necessary “to consume at least six sandwiches per day to claim to maintain its cholesterol”, according to the calculations of Foodwatch.
This is also the case of “Proactiv expert” Fruit d'Or (more than four slices of bread) or the Oméga 3 butter and Intermarché Buttermilk fat (more than six slices of bread).
3. Products that are too sweet
Other health claims, such as 'antioxidant', 'vitality' or 'energy', are highlighted on products that are also much too sweet, displaying a nutriscore D (on a scale that goes as far as 'to E), still details Foodwatch. Nestle's Nestlé Milk Chocolate Nutrient Fitness cereals contain 20 grams of sugar per 100 grams of product.
Innocent's “Super Smoothie Energize” is almost as sweet as it gets. a Coca-Cola, Gerblé's “Choco magnesium, Vitamin magnesium vitamin B6” biscuits display no less than 32 grams of sugar per 100 grams of product. Finally the Tropicana Essentials “Antioxidant” juice exceeds 11 grams of sugar per 100 milliliters
4. Products with purring names are sometimes only pure marketing
Several brands have recognized that certain allegations n were only marketing mentions. Ricola's Infuselle Bonne nuit is one of them. The brand confessed to Foodwatch that “Good Night” is not a health claim, but refers to the time when the product is consumed.
Ditto with Infuz brand “Hydrathé” infusion which suggests that the product is ideal for hydration. The association also pinned Yogi tea's “Joie de vivre” infusion, which has no scientific basis, and Kusmi Tea's “BB Detox” tea, the brand claiming “to choose not to make a health claim on its products. . “
5. Promises to cure cancer, completely illegal
In addition to wet finger claims, some brands go even further. “This is the case of the site biologiquement.com which literally sells forty products as 'anticancer': leaves of graviola soursop, extract of green tea leaves, blueberries capsules, organic white mulberries dried , etc. “says Foodwatch who has just filed a complaint against this site.
Contacted by Business Insider France, ANIA, the National Association of Agribusiness indicated that no Spokesman was not available on March 21 to discuss this Foodwatch investigation.
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