Mars Food announced Friday that they will soon change the labels on their pasta sauces, macaroni cheese, and certain other products to indicate that they should not be consumed more than once per week. The warning comes as a result of the high salt, sugar and fat content of these products.
According to a press release issued by Mars, their products will be labeled as “everyday” and “occasional” based on the nutritional contents of each item.
The press release also states that the new warning label is necessary since certain products are intentionally high in fat, salt and sugar in order to “maintain the authentic nature of the recipe.”
“As these products are not intended to be eaten daily, Mars Food will provide guidance to consumers on-pack and on its website regarding how often these meal offerings should be consumed within a balanced diet. The Mars Food website will be updated within the next few months with a list of “occasional” products – those to be enjoyed once per week – and a list of ‘everyday’ products.”
Sky News reports that the Dolmio pasta sauce brand in particular will bear the new “occasional” label, indicating that pasta sauces, lasagna sauces, and even pesto are not fit for consumption more than one time each week.
Warning – Before: Making their own pasta sauce. After: Using Dolmio twice a week. pic.twitter.com/4BfcWaornf
— Tiernan Douieb (@TiernanDouieb) April 15, 2016
Other products with less fat, salt and sugar will be declared fit for everyday consumption, while other unspecified products will be reformulated with healthier recipes.
Although Dolmio pasta sauce is primarily sold in the U.K. and Australia, the nutritional content is not markedly different from pasta sauces sold elsewhere. Mars also sells its Uncle Ben’s product line in the United States, which Sky News reports will be reformulated to reduce sugar and sodium content in the U.K. market.
It isn’t clear whether other territories, like the United States, will see the reformulated recipes. However, Reuters reports that Mars does plan to bring the label warnings to territories outside the U.K. where it sells pasta sauces, rice, and other products.
The warnings will be attached to all products that contain high levels of fat, sugar and salt, but Mars has indicated that it is particularly concerned with reducing the sodium content of its products in alignment with a company-wide nutrition criteria that is based on recommendations from the World Health Organization and other public health authorities.
“To align the global product portfolio with this criteria, Mars Food will reduce sodium by an average of 20 percent by 2021 and reduce added sugar in a limited number of sauces and light meals by 2018.”
The press release also pledges that Mars plans to ensure that its “tomato-based jar products” each contain at least one serving of vegetables each, and that half of their rice products will include either whole grains or legumes.
Despite the pasta sauce warning labels, plans to reformulate Uncle Ben’s products, and pledge to reduce sodium content, the press release only mentions by name the Dolmio, Uncle Ben’s and Masterfoods brands.
According to Reuters, Mars currently has no plans to add warnings to change the recipes of any of its candy products. Some of the candies that Mars sells include M&Ms, Snickers and Starburst.
Do you think it’s necessary for Mars, or other companies, to label products like pasta sauces with warnings that suggest only consuming them once a week? And what kind of message is Mars sending with pasta sauce warnings, while their chocolate bars and candies haven’t received the same treatment?
[Photo via Shutterstock]