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Southport and  Mersey Reporter -  Your free online newspaper service covering the Merseyside region - (Greater Liverpool).
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Issue:-  23/24 December 2009

Parents hoodwinked by manipulative food manufacturers

93% of parents in the North West are misled by tactics manufacturers use to market children’s foods loaded with fat, salt and sugar a British Heart Foundation (BHF) survey revealed.

The survey asked parents what they thought about statements such as ‘free from artificial colours and preservatives’ and ‘a source of calcium, iron and 6 vitamins’. It illustrates how the nation’s mums believe they indicate a product is likely to be healthy. Yet the shocking truth behind such lines is:-

Wholegrain – 72% parents believe that ‘wholegrain’ means the product is likely to be healthy. For example Nestle state that Honey Shreddies are ‘wholegrain’ and can keep your heart healthy and maintain a healthy body’ yet a 45g average size serving contains more sugar (13.6g) than a ring doughnut (9.2g).

Source of calcium, iron and 6 vitamins – 59% of parents think this indicates the product is likely to be healthy. For example Coco Pops use this line on their cereal and milk bars, yet per 100g they are higher in saturated fat and sugar than the average chocolate cake.

No artificial flavourings, no artificial colourings – More than half of parents, 56%, believe this indicates the product is likely to be healthy. The Natural Confectionery Company packaging states that Jelly Snakes sweets have ‘no artificial flavourings, no artificial colourings’ and are ‘natural’. Yet they contain more calories gram for gram than black treacle.

As part of its Food 4 Thought campaign the BHF examines how food manufacturers manipulate parents through distracting health-like claims to market breakfast foods and lunchbox snacks.

Peter Holllins, Chief Executive of the BHF said:- “Parents are having the wool pulled over their eyes by food manufacturers. Smoke and mirror tactics means that foods targeted at children and high in fat, salt and sugar are being disguised with partial health claims suggesting they’re a healthy choice. Regularly eating these types of foods could have serious implications for kids’ future health.”

The survey also revealed that 77% of parents supported calls for a single, front of pack food labelling scheme. An independent review commissioned by the Food Standards Agency concluded that a single front of pack scheme combining traffic light colours, guideline daily amounts and the words high, medium and low would be the most helpful to shoppers. But many food companies are resisting this system of food labelling.

Peter Hollins said:- “Partial health claims and the mish mash of food labelling systems serve only to confuse shoppers about the nutritional value of what they’re putting in their shopping baskets. It’s time for food companies to stop making excuses, support one system and ensure shoppers are given ‘at a glance’ information about the foods they’re giving their kids.”

The survey and report was conducted as part of the BHF’s Food 4 Thought campaign aimed at tackling childhood obesity.  For further information on the campaign visit:-

Office of Fair Trading Faces Legal Challenge From Consumers

THE British Heart Foundation is asking local people to get snapping over Christmas and enter the first Red for Heart Digital Photography Competition.

The three winning, and a selection of finalist, images will launch National Heart Month in February 2010 with an exhibition on the landscape area next to the Merlin Entertainments London Eye, which receives an average footfall of six million visitors per year.

The theme is Red for Heart so the colour red must be incorporated into the photo, but the brief is open to interpretation and must include a supporting statement of 100 words.

There are three entry categories: adults aged 16 and over, students aged 16 and over and juniors aged 15 and under. The competition closes on 6 January 2010.

There are some fantastic prizes to be won including an opportunity for a one-to-one master class with award winning photographer John Angerson; a one-day shoot shadowing award winning Getty Images commercial photographer Chris Ryan; a Red Panasonic Lumix Camera with 8x optical zoom, Philips Digital Photoframes, bound hard back photobooks from Bob Books and tickets to the London Eye.

Each entrant can submit up to three digital photos for a cost of £10 for adults and £5 for students and juniors. The photos will be judged by professional photographer John Angerson, The Independent on Sunday Picture Editor Sophie Batterbury, Amateur Photographer Magazine Editor Damien Demolder and Director of Content at Getty Images, Paul Foster.

To enter go to:-

If you feel photography is not your thing you can still get involved in Red for Heart by joining National Wear Red Day on Friday, 26 February 2010. For fun and inspiring fundraising ideas for National Heart Month – February 2010 - order a Red for Heart Fundraising Kit today call on:- 0845 241 0976.


MERSEYSIDE Police are trying to find the owner of a black handbag, which it is believed may contain the funeral ashes of a
relative.   As well as the ashes, which are in a small tin containing a photograph, the small handbag also contained a photograph of a man, woman and child, cigarettes, a bottle of perfume and some items of make up.

It was found in Pighue Lane, Wavertree, on 19 November 2009, and was handed in to Tuebrook police station.

The handbag has a shoulder strap with punch hole details. 

If you have lost this handbag contact Merseyside Police on:- 0151 777 4861, you will be asked to describe some of the items in the bag to ensure that the bag is yours.

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