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Australian federal court finds Heinz made false product claims

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission on March 19 said The Federal Court has found that H.J. Heinz Company Australia Ltd., subsidiary of Kraft Heinz Co., made misleading claims about the health benefits of its Little Kids Shredz products.

The commission, or ACCC, alleged that images and statements on the Little Kids Shredz products were inaccurate, representing the items as healthy for children from ages one to three. It contained phrases such as "99% fruit and veg" and "our range of snacks and meals encourages your toddler to independently discover the delicious taste of nutritious food."

ACCC chairman Rod Sims said that the products contain over 60% sugar, which is "significantly" higher than the amount of sugar found in natural fruits and vegetables. Sims added that the Little Kids Shredz products "inhibit" the development of a child's taste for natural fruit and vegetables, and develop in them a preference for sweet tastes.

The court found that the images and statements did create an impression that Little Kids Shredz were nutritious. Consequently, it will set a hearing on the penalties and orders sought by the ACCC, which include declarations, injunctions, pecuniary penalties, corrective notices and costs.

The Little Kids Shredz product line has not been on sale since at least May 2016.