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Health charities boost food company profits

23rd April 2002

When health charities let their logos appear on food products, they could be doing more for company profits than for public health, according to a new survey by the Food Commission.

Logos or endorsements from health charities and medical associations appear on brands of fruit juice, bread, tomatoes, cooking oil, margarine, porridge oats, milk, yogurt and even tea bags. National organisations that allow their logos to be put onto food products include the British Heart Foundation, Family Heart Association, Cancer Research Campaign, the National Osteoporosis Society, the British Dietetic Association and the British Dental Association.

In the Food Commission survey, logos were often found on foods of questionable nutritional benefit. In addition, the products usually cost significantly more, sometimes ten times more, than other food products with similar or better nutritional value.

Although the health charities say that they are not endorsing the products, the Food Commission believes that consumers will assume that the food has been approved, or even recommended, by the charity.

'It's all about making a profit. Food companies use health charity logos because they want to give the impression that their foods are healthier in order to increase sales,' said Kath Dalmeny, Research Officer for the Food Commission. 'But charities and medical associations aren't there to make money for food companies. They should promote healthier, affordable foods and use every opportunity to improve public education and public health.'

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