AUSTRALIA- The Federal Court of Australia has ruled out that Heinz made misleading health claim on Little Kids Shredz products for toddlers adding that the US firm should have been aware the claims were deceptive.
The court said that Kraft Heinz subsidiary H. J. Heinz Company Australia, had made false health claims that the products were beneficial to young children.
According to Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), while the images and statements on Shredz products represented to consumers that they were a healthy and nutritious food for young children, they did not reflect the nutritional component of the products.
Proceedings ruled that Heinz nutritionists ought to have known that a representation that a product containing approximately two-thirds sugar was beneficial to health of children was misleading.
“We welcome the court’s decision today which shows that businesses that make false or misleading claims about the health benefits of products face serious consequences.
We were particularly concerned by Heinz’s conduct because the Shredz products were marketed as being beneficial for young children,” said Delia Rickard, ACCC acting chair.
He argued that Heinz’s Shredz products consisted of over 60% sugar, significantly higher than that of natural fruit and vegetables.
Heinz had made the nutritional claims on three varieties of its product range peach apple and veg, berries apple and veg, and strawberry and apple with chia seeds.
Earlier, the Obesity Policy Coalition of Australia had written a complain to the health ministers, urging them to immediately adopt a recommendation to identify ‘added sugars’ on food labels.
Heinz is said to have misled shoppers by advertising its range of Little Kids Fruit & Chia Shredz treats as ‘99% fruit and veg’.
The commission had indicated that Heinz’s snack foods intended for children aged between one and three years were not as healthy as they put it but instead container higher amount of sugar.