New Which? research on baby food has uncovered some products with less meat than the label suggests, and others that contain a large dose of sugar.
Rules that came into force last year set standards for the labelling and content of cereal and processed foods for babies aged under one year.
We felt certain products didn’t meet the new standards. For example, we thought that Cow & Gate’s Organic Rosie’s Orchard Chicken should be 40 per cent chicken, but it was just 8 per cent. Cow & Gate pointed to another description on the label which gave potatoes as the first ingredient.
Sales of organic baby food have boomed in recent years. Three out of four babies now eat organic food regularly. But some experts are concerned about babies not getting enough iron because of the trend; iron is often used to fortify baby food but organic standards mean it can’t be added to organic versions.
We were also concerned about the level of sugar in some foods. For example, a Farley’s rusk is 29 per cent sugar – that’s more than a McVitie’s HobNob, which is about 23 per cent.
Other products were largely water. In Sainsbury’s Organic Pasta and Ham in Tomato Sauce, water tops the list of ingredients. Heinz Mango and Pork Dinner’s main ingredient was also water, with pork relegated to fourth place in the ingredients list.
The full report is available online – see below. We’re calling for clearer labelling so parents know what they’re buying.
Our report highlights the importance of checking the ingredients list. A survey by the Food Standards Agency , published yesterday, found that more people than ever now check labels for salt, sugar and fat content.
The survey, for 2005, also found that 67 per cent of people were aware they needed to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day – up from 43 per cent in 2000.