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Thursday, 18 April, 2002, 01:58 GMT 02:58 UK
Baked beans 'count as vegetables'
Heinz will label more than 70 different canned products
Government health advisors say tinned products can now count towards your recommended daily intake of five portions fruit and vegetables.

The British Dietetic Association (BDA) has given Heinz the go-ahead to label more than 70 different canned products as counting towards the recommended portions.

The products include soup, spaghetti hoops and baked beans.

The move has astounded leading specialists in heart disease, who say they are appalled at the official endorsement of products which are often high in salt, sugar and fat.

On average people in Britain eat only three portions of fruit and vegetables a day and that is not enough for good health, according to the BDA.

Heart disease

It wants to get across the message that fresh, as well as frozen, dried, juiced and canned products can all count.

It is backing a marketing initiative by Heinz that enables the company to put new labels on more than 70 of its tinned brands.

The logos will show, for example, that half a can of baked beans or half a tin of spaghetti shapes count as portions of your recommended five fruit and vegetables a day.

This may relieve parents whose children will not eat their greens, but critics in the medical profession say they are appalled.

Children who fail to eat enough of the basics for a healthy diet are more at risk of heart disease and diabetes - two conditions prevalent among poor families.

A Department of Health spokesperson said: "We support initiatives which enable consumers to increase their consumption of fruit or vegetables.

"However, if people want to ensure they are eating a healthy diet it is important to remember that includes a variety of foods.

"For most people that means eating more fruit and vegetables, more bread, cereals and potatoes and less fat, sugar and salt."

See also:

13 Dec 01 | UK
Dangers of a poor diet
30 Nov 99 | Health
Children's diet better in 1950s
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