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Nestle Includes 3g of Sugar in Each Serving of Cerelac Sold in India: Report

April 18, 2024

New Delhi: Two of the best-selling baby-food brands by Nestle in India contain high levels of added sugar, while such products are sugar-free in the United Kingdom, Germany Switzerland, and other developed nations, according to an investigation by Public Eye. The report said that Nestle, which is the world’s largest consumer goods company, adds sugar and honey to infant milk and cereal products in several countries, a violation of international guidelines aimed at preventing obesity and chronic diseases. Violations were found only in Asian, African, and Latin American countries.

Findings showed that in India, all 15 Cerelac baby products contain an average of nearly 3 grams of sugar per serving. The same product is being sold with no added sugar in Germany and the UK, while in Ethiopia and Thailand, it contains nearly 6 grams, the study said.  

The amount of added sugar is often not even disclosed in the nutritional information available on the packaging of these kinds of products.

“While Nestle prominently highlights the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients contained in its products using idealizing imagery, it’s not transparent when it comes to added sugar,” the report said.

Nestle sold over ₹ 20,000-Crore worth of Cerelac products in India in 2022.

Experts say that adding sugar, which is highly addictive, to baby products is a dangerous and unnecessary practice.

“This is a big concern. Sugar should not be added to foods offered to babies and young children because it is unnecessary and highly addictive,” says Rodrigo Vianna, epidemiologist and Professor at the Department of Nutrition of the Federal University of Paraiba in Brazil.

“Children get used to the sweet taste and start looking for more sugary foods, starting a negative cycle that increases the risk of nutrition-based disorders in adult life. These include obesity and other chronic non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes or high blood pressure,” he added.

A Nestle India spokesperson though said that they comply with all local regulations and international standards, and have already reduced added sugars across its infant cereal range by up to 30% in the last five years.

“Over the past five years, Nestlé India has reduced added sugars by up to 30%, depending on the variant, in our infant cereals portfolio (milk cereal-based complementary food),” the spokesperson told LiveMint.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Kashmir Monitor staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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