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Health Last Updated: Mar 11th, 2011 - 15:30:48

Vegemite Product Aimed at Kids Slammed for High Sodium
David Hope
Mar 9, 2011, 12:10

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Vegemite is trying to make a triumphant return to grocery store shelves, but the effort is drawing sharp criticsm from health experts. The new version of the Vegemite has been reformulated to include less salt but health experts say it�s not enough to support the healthy claims.

Kraft Foods has decided to reformulate the classic recipe for small children and called it �My First Vegemite.� The new version has added iron, B12 and B6 vitamins and has half the sodium used in the original Vegemite recipe. The flavor is also said to be milder than the original.

Jacqui Webster, who coordinates the salt reduction program at the George Institute for Global Health, told the Brisbane Times the reformulation did not go far enough.

"Unfortunately, cutting the sodium content of Vegemite by 50 percent doesn't cut it when it comes to feeding it to children, and parents should avoid feeding it to their kids. The new product still contains almost 15 times the levels of sodium that would be accepted to classify as a low salt product and as such it is a disgrace that it is being promoted as good for kids."

Senior food policy adviser Clare Hughes told the Brisbane Times the spread should be eaten in moderation.

"It's not a product kids can now eat jars-full of," she said.

"We certainly welcome the introduction of a lower-sodium Vegemite. We know that Aussie kids love a Vegemite sandwich or Vegemite on toast, but Vegemite is a high-salt food that children shouldn't have too much of, even the new version."

"We would also like to see Kraft slowly reduce the salt content in the regular Vegemite product."

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