Australian watchdog sues Heinz over 'Little Kids' health claims

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[June 21, 2016]  SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia's consumer watchdog on Tuesday sued the Australian subsidiary of U.S.-based Kraft Heinz Co alleging it falsely advertised the nutritional value of its Little Kids Shredz range of food for young children.

H.J. Heinz Company Australia Ltd was charged with multiple breaches of the consumer law, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). It faces penalties of up to A$1.1 million ($821,700) for each breach.

The company's marketing of its Little Kids Shredz range as "nutritious food" and "99 percent fruit and veg" was false and misleading, the ACCC said in a statement.

"Heinz is marketing these products as healthy options for young children when they are not," ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said in the statement.

"These products contain over 60 percent sugar, which is significantly higher than that of natural fruit and vegetables - for example, an apple contains approximately 10 percent sugar."

In a statement Heinz strenuously denied misleading consumers, said it would "defend its position" and that the products in question are no longer on the market.

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(Reporting by Tom Westbrook; Editing by Stephen Coates)

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