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Dentists: Food industry misleading parents on sugar

The British Dental Association has said government must stamp out misleading marketing claims by children's food manufacturers, in response to damning new research from Action on Sugar.

Latest findings show breakfast foods aimed at toddlers contain up to four teaspoons of sugar per serving. Over three quarters of products claim to have 'no added sugars' or 'only naturally occurring sugars' despite many containing sugars from fruit juices, concentrates and purees – all of which are harmful to dental health.

Earlier this year a British Dental Association study of 109 baby pouches aimed at children aged under 12 months found over a quarter contained more sugar by volume than Coca Cola, with parents of infants as young as four months being marketed pouches that contain the equivalent of up to 150% of the sugar levels of the soft drink.

The BDA backs sweeping action on food marketing and labelling, including the complete removal of misleading nutrition and health claims on baby and toddler food and drink products and ensuring dedicated baby aisles in supermarkets are a 'safe space' for parents.

British Dental Association Chair Eddie Crouch said:

"The food industry is walking parents down the garden path, pushing sugar-laden products as 'healthy options'.

"Claims of 'no added sugar' are utterly meaningless when toddlers are receiving four teaspoons over breakfast.

"Tooth decay is the number one reason for hospital admission among young children, and Ministers can't remain bystanders. Action here is a prerequisite if we're ever going to turn the tables on wholly preventable diseases."