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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 November, 2003, 14:46 GMT
Sweets may carry health warning
Too much isn't good for you
Sweets manufacturer Cadbury is considering putting a message on its products advising consumers to eat a healthy diet.

Customers may be told that sweets and chocolate should be balanced by eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.

Confectionary producers have been warned they may face damages claims from overweight people blaming the industry for their health problems.

However, a spokesman said no final decision had been taken.

He said: "We are currently looking at a number of options to provide better labelling for our consumers.

"But it far too early to say exactly specific form that will take."

Soaring obesity

The idea of health warnings on food packets was mooted by the Food Standards Agency earlier this week.

The government watchdog has warned that a concerted effort is needed to try to reverse the surge in levels in obesity.

It has predicted that a failure to act could see life expectancy fall for the first time in more than a century.

Jeanette Longfield, of the food and farming campaign group Sustain, said: "I think it would help if all confectionary manufacturers had honest and understandable labelling.

"Unfortunately, too many of them hide it in tiny print on the back of the label that you rip off as soon as you open the chocolate bar."

A spokesman for the Food Commission said: "Cadbury appears to be trying to improve its reputation and position itself as a responsible company.

"But this is not an admission or even a health warning. Rather Cadbury is saying chocolate is fine as part of a balanced diet."

Deborah O'Neill, of upmarket confectioners Pierre Marcolini Chocolates, said the company's chocolate would require no health warnings.

"There are no artificial flavours or ingredients, and it naturally sweet with vanilla or a little bit of cane sugar, which is good for you."

The BBC's Louisa Baldini
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