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January 12, 2011

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Misleading packaging leads to health confusion

LOCAL food producers have been accused of duping consumers with bogus ads and confusing packaging which exaggerate the benefits to health of some products.

A recent survey carried out by a local consumers' rights watchdog showed that over half of consumers were not able to distinguish foods that specifically aim to improve health from regular ones - which may still have some health benefits, but are not produced solely for that reason - mainly because of misleading ads and packaging.

The Shanghai Commission of Consumers Rights and Interests Protection tested 10 types of regular food, five types of health food among 1,423 people.

Fifty five percent could not distinguish between health food and regular food.

Li Micheng, an official with the commissions' health food office, said some products were named after an ingredient in the food. For example, many consumers believed a type of "immunoglobulin" capsule was a health product that helped immunity. In fact, immunoglobulin was not the main ingredient of the capsule as the label suggested.


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