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Confusion over ultra-processed food labelling- study

Labelling foods as ultra-processed might not be so helpful for consumers who want to know how healthy a product is, UK experts say.

Currently, packs must show whether a food item is high in fat, salt and sugar but not how processed it is.

Scientists who analysed different products say it is too simplistic to brand all ultra-processed foods (UPFs) as very bad.

Technically, sliced bread is ultra-processed, for example.

Though many UPFs are clearly unhealthy, some could fall into the “healthy” green category of the “traffic-light” system.

This was the case for meat-alternative products, the University College London team said, and some people may be unaware what they were buying was ultra-processed.
Five ingredients

UPFs have been linked to obesity and heart disease.

They are defined by how they are made and what they contain.

They often have more than five ingredients, with examples including cakes, biscuits and yoghurts.

At the other end of the scale are unprocessed foods such as fruits, vegetables and fresh meat – and in the middle, processed foods such as cheeses and tinned products.