Multinational food brands are deceiving Australian consumers by bumping up the nutritional value of their products. Independent analysis proves that false nutritional value of certain brands and food are being displayed, tricking Australian shoppers.

Nestle and Kellogg’s were called out by Choice, for providing false health ratings on their products. The site claimed that breakfast cereals and Milo are products that have these false nutritional claims. Australian consumers rely on the health star rating system to make healthy choices for their families.

Choice discovered “health washing” on Nestle powdered drink Milo and a number of Kellogg’s cereals. The site mentioned that these food giants are “trying to manipulate” the federal government’s Health Star Rating (HSR) scheme.

According to the site, Nestle has provided Milo with an HSR rating of  4.5 stars. This is only accurate when adding 3 teaspoons to 200ml of skim milk. The food brand is assuming that all Australians use skim milk. When using full cream milk, the actual HSR rating drops to 1.5 stars.

Choice also called out Kellogg’s as another “offender.” The food brand is said to be providing conflicting health ratings on their cereal. Crunchy Nut Corn Flakes Clusters has two HSR ratings displayed on the box.  On one side, a 2-star rating is seen and when turned to the side, there lies a 3.5-star rating.

Kellogg’s has responded to allegations saying that, “it is amending all its cereal packaging so the actual health star rating of the product will match with the health star fact box, which should be completed soon.”

Deakin University Public Health Nutrition Professor Mark Lawrence told The New Daily, “The underlying problem is, it is a badly flawed design and so these sort of outcomes occur when companies are exploiting a bad system and in a sense we shouldn’t be surprised.” Lawrence said that the HSR should be avoided “until it is fundamentally redesigned.”

“It is just nonsensical to be putting a health promotion message, even if it is only two or three stars, onto junk foods,” he added.