PETALING JAYA, March 6 — Weeks after debate on the controversial levels of sugar in Milo, Nestle Australia has removed the 4.5 Health Star Rating from its packaging.
This came after Australian Milo, with identical sugar levels to its Malaysian counterpart, was accused of exploiting loopholes in the country’s Health Star Rating system.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that the product’s 4.5-star rating printed on the label was based on a recommended serving with 200ml of skimmed milk.
Take milk out of the equation, and Milo conjures up just a paltry 1.5 Health Star Rating in its raw, powdered form.
Aussie consumer group Choice accused Nestle of “health washing” a sugary product.
“When people see a chocolate-based powdered product that is high in sugar carrying a 4.5-star rating, they rightfully question health star ratings,” Choice’s Katinka Day said, adding that the food manufacturer manipulated the system to their advantage.
The star rating relegation applies only to tins of powdered Milo.
Their argument matches accusations levelled at Nestle here in January.
The food and drink giant was blasted by Mindvalley chief executive officer Vishen Lakhiani for “misleading” customers into believing the drink was healthy, based on a New York Times expose.
The bombshell report claimed nutritionists are paid by food companies in order to market their product as “healthy.”
Lakhiani posted a video that went viral, chalking up over 834,000 views on Facebook to date.
Nestle Malaysia hit back, saying that 50 per cent of the total sugar in Milo comes naturally from milk and malt.
Lakhiani responded by highlighting that Milo packaging recommends three heaped teaspoons in a 200ml glass of milk.
The single serving suggestion is equivalent to 9gm of “sugars” in a 20gm portion of Milo, accounting for a staggering 45 per cent per serving.
The nutritional intake is the same serving suggestion recommended for the Australian product.
The Australian government is conducting a review of its Health Star Rating system to avoid being exploited in future, raising the question if Malaysia will soon follow suit.
Nestle Malaysia has been reached for comment but has yet to reply.