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Nestle Faces Backlash Over Sugar Content In Baby Products

ByHybrid News

Apr 24, 2024

Nestle, the renowned global food corporation, finds itself under scrutiny following revelations of high sugar levels in its baby food products across developing nations, notably Nigeria. An investigation conducted by Swiss organization Public Eye and the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) has sparked concerns among parents and health professionals alike.

The study uncovered traces of added sugar, including sucrose and honey, in Nestle’s Cerelac cereal for children aged six months to two years, as well as Nido, a follow-up milk formula for infants over one year old, sold in countries like Nigeria.

Comparisons revealed stark differences in sugar content between different regions. Cerelac products in India contain almost 3 grams of sugar per serving, while those in developed countries like Germany and the UK contain no added sugar. In countries such as Ethiopia and Thailand, sugar content per serving peaks at nearly 6 grams.

Critics have raised alarm bells, citing concerns over the potential health implications, particularly in a region already grappling with rising rates of obesity-related diseases. Akinbode Oluwafemi, Executive Director of Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA), emphasized the need for government intervention to address unhealthy dietary trends, including sugar-sweetened beverages.

“In a country where over 80% of health expenditure is out-of-pocket, the government must prioritize legislation that curtails unhealthy food environments and promotes a culture of healthy consumption,” Oluwafemi stated.

However, Nestle Nigeria’s Head of Corporate Communications, Victoria Uwadoka, responded to inquiries, asserting the company’s commitment to global nutrition, health, and wellness standards. Uwadoka clarified that Nestle does not add sugars to infant formula for children aged 0-12 months, including in Nigeria. She emphasized adherence to both international and local guidelines, stating that Nestle’s Growing Up Milk in Nigeria contains no added sugars.

The controversy underscores the importance of transparency and consumer awareness in ensuring the nutritional integrity of baby products and promoting the health and well-being of infants and young children.

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