Paddle Pop ice block maker Unilever has been fined A$10,800 in Australia over the “School Canteen Approved” logos it put on boxes.
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Our Australian sister organisation Choice complained about the logo to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). As a result, the ACCC issued infringement notices for misleading healthy food representations.
Paddle Pops packs with a “School Canteen Approved” logo have also been sold in New Zealand.
The maker of Sakata Paws Pizza Rice Snack paid an A$10,800 (NZ$11,500) penalty for using a similar logo on its product.
Both companies have agreed to stop using the logos.
“The ACCC believes both companies were using logos to claim these products were a healthy option for school canteens to supply to children, when they were not,” ACCC commissioner Sarah Court said.
“School canteen managers, parents and caregivers rely upon product packaging and labelling when choosing healthy snacks for children.”
A pack of Rainbow Paddle Pops we purchased contained 20 percent sugar. Fine print on the back of the box stated the ice blocks meet the “amber” criteria under Australia’s National Healthy School Canteens Guidelines. The guidelines were introduced in 2010 to help school canteen managers choose nutritious food to supply. Amber foods are those that contain some valuable nutrients but may also contain high levels of saturated fat, sugar or salt.
The ACCC said it didn’t consider the fine print disclaimer was sufficiently prominent to correct the misleading representations created by the logos. A similar disclaimer appeared on the Sakata product.
Choice spokesman Tom Godfrey said the “dodgy logos were deployed on packs to fool consumers into thinking they were making a healthy choice for their kids. This is a timely reminder to parents to be on the lookout for 'health halos' when navigating the supermarket aisles each week".