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Complaint about "Healthy Living" garlic bread

This complaint was made on 12 August 2004 about the use of a "Healthy Living" label on own-brand garlic bread in Co-op convenience stores and Tesco supermarkets in Oxford. Hydrogenated vegetable fat has listed among the ingredients on both products.

Due to the absence of a UK-wide enforcement authority, the complaint was made to Oxfordshire's Trading Standards department.

See the FSA's page explaining the law on such claims here.

This is a complaint about misleading labels on garlic bread as seen in The Co-op and Tesco.

The so-called "Healthy Living" own-brand brand garlic breads in both stores contain hydrogenated fat, and therefore may be assumed to contain trans fat (cit. US FDA: "Consumers can know if a food contains trans fat by looking at the ingredient list on the food label. If the ingredient list includes the words 'shortening,' 'partially hydrogenated vegetable oil' or 'hydrogenated vegetable oil,' the food contains trans fat.").

According to the FSA, "The trans fats found in food containing hydrogenated vegetable oil are harmful and have no known nutritional benefits. They raise the type of cholesterol in the blood that increases the risk of coronary heart disease. Some evidence suggests that the effects of these trans fats may be worse than saturated fats."

The use of the term "Healthy Living" on these products is therefore misleading. This means (Cit. FSA: "The law says that any claim must be true and must not be misleading") that it is against the law.

Please will you therefore investigate these apparently unlawful labels and take appropriate action against the perpetrators.

Regards, Oliver Tickell, tfX (www.tfx.org.uk)

We have now heard from the Oxfordshire TSA that they are investigating further (21 September 2004). They will be sending their purchases of "Healthy Living" garlic bread for independent analysis to determine the fatty acid profile of the products, and will consider enforcement action if the trans fat content is high.

More new will be posted on this page as the complaint progresses through the system.

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