Nestle's Infant Milk Products: FSSAI Examining Charges of Added Sugar
Moneylife Digital Team 19 April 2024
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is examining the claim that Nestlé added sugar to infant milk sold in the country. This follows a direction from the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) to FSSAI to a comprehensive review of the sugar content in Nestlé's baby food products after a report showed a violation of health guidelines.
 
Sources say the findings will be placed before the scientific panel.  
 
According to the report from Public Eye and the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN), baby food brands sold by global giant Nestlé in India contain high levels of added sugar, unlike the same products in the UK, Germany, Switzerland, and other developed nations.
 
According to Euromonitor, Nestlé's Cerelac is the world's number one baby cereal brand, with sales exceeding US$1bn (billion) in 2022. Public Eye and IBFAN examined 115 products sold in Nestlé's main markets in Africa, Asia and Latin America. "No less than 108 of them (94%) contained added sugar. For 67 of these products, we were able to determine the amount of added sugar. On average, our analysis found almost 4 grams per serving or about one sugar cube. The highest amount – 7.3 grams per serving – was detected in a product sold in the Philippines and targeted at six-month-old babies."
 
 
It says, "Our investigation shows that, for Nestlé, not all babies are equal when it comes to added sugar. While in Switzerland, where the Company is headquartered, the main infant cereals and formula brands sold by the multinational come without added sugar, most Cerelac and Nido products marketed in lower-income countries do contain added sugar, often at high levels."
 
 
"In India, where sales surpassed $250 million in 2022, all Cerelac baby cereals contain added sugar, on average nearly 3 grams per serving. The same situation prevails in South Africa, the main market on the African continent, where all Cerelac baby cereals contain four grams or more of added sugar per serving. In Brazil, the world's second-largest market, with sales of around $150 million in 2022, three-quarters of Cerelac baby cereals (known as Mucilon in the country) contain added sugar, on average 3 grams per serving," it added.
 
In a regulatory filing, Nestlé India Ltd, the unit of Swiss multinational Nestlé SA, says, "Reduction of added sugars is a priority for Nestlé India. Over the past 5 years, we have already reduced added sugars by up to 30%, depending on the variant. We regularly review our portfolio and continue to innovate and reformulate our products to further reduce the level of added sugars, without compromising on nutrition, quality, safety, and taste."
 
"At the outset, we would like to assure that our infant cereal products, are manufactured to ensure the appropriate delivery of nutritional requirements such as protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and iron for early childhood. We never compromise and will never compromise on the nutritional quality of our products. Compliance is an essential characteristic of the Company and we will never compromise on that," it added. 
 
However, IBFAN says, "While the multinational is quick to highlight that these products are 'without added sucrose', they do contain added sugar in the form of honey. However, honey and sucrose are both considered by the WHO as sugars that should not be added to baby food. Indeed, Nestlé itself explains it very well in an educational quiz on Nido's website in South Africa: replacing sucrose with honey has "no scientific health benefit", as both can contribute 'to weight gain and possibly obesity'."
 
The move came following a report from a Swiss investigative organisation that claimed the Swiss multinational company added sugar to its milk formula brand for infants and children of up to two years old.
Comments
adityag
1 month ago
Not surprised. Old news though.
iaminprabhu
1 month ago
It's SHOCKING the way Nesyle Cerelac has used ADDED SUGAR in INFANT foods, that too in Asia, Africa, Latam & NOT in EU -UK! This shows clear differential norms & side stepping WHO RECCOMENDATIONS not yo ADD SUGARS!

Besides Sugar is addictive & not be added at infants stage of foods! These MNCs,are making record PROFITS by adding or increasing cheap sugar in formulations!

Nestle India recently has also increased its % ROYALTY payments to SWISS HQ! Increasing profits at expense of non EU UK children health must be strictly prohibited & they should be PUNISHED to fall in line with WHO recommendations immediately.
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