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Consumers to vote for biggest food ad fib

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Consumers to vote for biggest food ad fib
Photo: DPA
12:34 CEST+02:00
"Non-alcoholic" beer with a punch, cheap tea repackaged and sold for a fortune, or "low-fat" mince meat fleshed out with wheat and water. A consumer watchdog is sniffing out the cheekiest lies in food advertising.

Foodwatch is hunting for the winner of this year's bogey prize for the most deceptive food product, the consumer protection organisation announced on Tuesday.

In the running for the Goldene Windbeutel (Golden Cream Puff) are what Foodwatch says are five of the biggest porkies on supermarket shelves.

These include Radeberger's Clausthaler Classic, an “alcohol-free” beer which contains 0.45 percent alcohol, Netto's Viva Vital low-fat minced meat - which contains just 30 percent meat.

Also nominated is the supposedly cholesterol-reducing margarine Becel pro-activ, which contains high levels of plant sterols. Foodwatch says the long-term effect of plant sterols have not been scientifically tested and the consequences for health remain “completely unclear.”

Further candidates for misleading or irresponsible marketing include Hipp fruit teas – advertised for small children from one year upwards - which contains the equivalent of two and a half sugar cubes per 200 ml cup.

Meanwhile Foodwatch says Teekanne's mirabelle-and-pear flavour Landlust tea contains no trace of the mirabelle plum and “is a standard industry fruit tea just sold at a higher price.”

The project, now in its fourth year, aims to raise awareness of tricks and “legal lies” used by food manufacturers and advertisers to fool unsuspecting consumers.

Since launching in 2007, Foodwatch says its Abgespeist (Fobbed off) campaign has prompted over 260,000 consumers to complain directly to manufacturers.

And the project is attracting more and more attention, with last year almost 120,000 consumers voting online for the biggest food marketing lie.

This is ramping up the pressure on food manufacturers, said Der Spiegel on Tuesday. Some prize winners have even promised to change their recipes or advertising, said the paper.

Previous winners include Ferrero's Milch-Schnitte, Zott's Monte Drink and Danone's Actimel drink. Ferrero rejected the negative prize last year, claiming there was no indication that consumers found their advertising misleading.

Consumers can vote via the www.abgespeist.de website before June 18.

DADP/The Local/jlb

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