Monday, 24 August 2015

How something with 6.8 per cent fat can be 'fat free'

As we've previously discovered, it's possible for food to contain more than 100 per cent of its ingredients according to a misleading industry regulation. Now we discover that it is possible for a substance that is 6.8% fat to be labelled fat free. Take a look at this label from NestlĂ©'s instant cappucino product:

Yes it's 6.8 per cent fat - yet it is also labelled 'Fat Free'. This is too big a discrepancy to be a mistake, so there has to be an industry weasel mechanism to enable this apparent contradiction - and there is. Nestlé responded to a query by saying:
Hi Brian, in order to make a fat free claim a beverage should contain no more than 0.5g fat per 100 mls
So, leaving aside the fact that 0.5g per 100 millilitres isn't actually fat-free, the get-out clause is that the drink as consumed only contains 1.2g of fat, which with the volume of powder and 200 ml of water probably takes it down to 0.5g per 100 ml.

For me, this remains a dubious concept. The fact is that the product itself is certainly not fat free, so the label in the 'Good to know' box is confusing at best.