March 31st, 2012
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CSE blames Maggi, KFC etc of misbranding and misinformation

fast-foodNew Delhi: Centre for Science and Environment, a Delhi based NGO, has alleged that leading food manufacturers are guilty of “large scale misbranding and misinformation”. According to their experimental report junk food produced by major food manufacturers contains heavy doses of trans- fats however they claim that their food contained zero trans-fats. Most popular “junk foods contain very high levels of trans-fats, salts and sugar which causes severe health issues and diseases like obesity and diabetes,” the CSE said.

CSE’s results showed that having just one serving of these foods “completely overturned one’s daily diet chart.” The National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) and the WHO prescribes benchmarks of how much salt, sugar, carbohydrates and fats every individual can have on a daily basis to stay healthy.

CSE conducted laboratory tests on 16 major food brands that the young particularly like, such as Maggi, Top Ramen noodles, MacDonald’s foods, KFC’s fried chicken and Haldiram’s Aloo Bhujia. The lab results were released by the Centre. These findings were disputed by the manufacturers.

The WHO says that in a balanced diet, a maximum of 1 per cent of total energy should come from trans fats. Therefore, an adult male can have 2.6 gram of trans fats per day, while an adult female can have 2.1 gram and a child (10-12 years) can have 2.3 gram.

CSE found that Top Ramen Super Noodles (Masala) which claims to have no trans-fats actually contains 0.7 gram of it per 100 gram. Similarly, Haldiram’s Aloo Bhujia says it has no trans fats, but the study found 2.5 gram per 100 gram. PepsiCo’s Lays (Snack Smart) was sold till February 2012 through huge advertisements to say that these chips are healthy because they have zero trans fats, but every 100 grams of it has 3.7 grams of trans fats.

Trans-fats clog arteries making the passage narrower and causing heart diseases, while large amounts of salt leads to increase in blood pressure making the heart work overtime. CSE noted that the kind of food under test has enough trans-fats, salt and sugar to lead to an early onset of diseases in the young. CSE has accused the companies of not disclosing the real contents of their products.

“The NIN benchmark for maximum salt for one person is 6 gram, while the WHO puts it at 5 gram. The normal 80-gram packet of Maggi noodles that many of us gobble up almost on a daily basis has over 3.5 gram of salt – enough to take care of over 60 per cent of our daily salt intake,” CSE said.

Pepsico defending their products said, “All products manufactured by PepsiCo in India are fully compliant with all the regulations, including those on labelling, prescribed by the FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India).” It said that its products under the Lays, Uncle Chips, Kurkure and Cheetos brands are trans-fat free.


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