A new study has revealed that some baby foods contain "staggering" amounts of sugar and fat that make them worse than junk food.
During the study, researchers for the Children’s Food Campaign found that
Farley's Original Rusks contain more sugar than McVities Chocolate Digestives, while Heinz Toddler Mini Cheese Biscuits have proportionately more saturated fat than a McDonald''s quarter pounder with cheese.
Cow & Gate's Baby Balance Bear Biscuits, meanwhile, contain harmful trans fats – a processed vegetable fat which many manufacturers no longer use as there are concerns it poses a health risk.
“The results of this survey are staggering. Many foods marketed for babies and young children are often advertised as ‘healthy’. In terms of sugar and saturated fat content, some are worse than junk food,” the Daily Express quoted Children’s Food Campaign joint-coordinator Christine Haigh as saying.
“In particular, failing to correctly label products that contain dangerous trans fats is outrageous,” Haigh added.
Half of the 107 products surveyed were low in saturated fat, salt and sugar and only a quarter of the 24 Heinz baby foods had low levels of all three.
Farley’s rusks original had 29g of sugar per 100g – more than the 27.3g of sugar in a dark chocolate digestive.
More than 15 per cent of the Cow & Gate foods surveyed were high in sugar. Their baby balance animal friend biscuits were the worst, with 18.8g of sugar per 100g.
Even the reduced sugar rusks had 21.7g of sugar per 100g.
The Heinz toddler’s own mini cheese biscuits contained 7.3g of saturated fat per 100g – a McDonald’s quarter pounder with cheese has 6.7g per 100g.
Food giant Heinz, which owns the Farley’s brand, said the original rusks recipe was virtually unchanged since its launch 120 years ago.
It insisted the reduced sugar rusks were low in fat and had the minimum sugar content needed to keep their texture and dissolve easily enough to avoid choking.
The company also said that the mini cheese biscuits for toddlers came in 25g packs and contained only 1.8g of saturated fat per serving.