Sunday, November 27, 2011: 10:44:32 PM

Food Processing Poll Feature

Processed food and children

In spite of certain safety concerns, majority feel that processed foods are too well ingrained in our diets to be kept away from children

In spite of our best efforts to keep our diets natural and healthy, it is almost impossible to stay away from processed foods. While processed foods has its fair share of advantages and benefits for the consumer as well as the manufacturer, certain experts feel that the safety of these foods can be questioned. Some say that children who have delicate digestive systems can be harmed even more by such foods.

 
However, a recent survey by FoodProcessing360 saw majority of the voters (83%) disagreeing to the idea of keeping processed foods away from children. It is to be considered that basic food items like bread, cheese and butter fall under the processed food category and therefore depriving children of these could impact their nutritional intake.
 
A mother’s dilemma
 
While a balanced diet may include some ham or sausage for breakfast or even cornflakes, several mothers are choosing the natural way to start off their kid’s day. Divya Sanglikar, corporate nutritionist at Healthji, a leading health portal, says, “Processed food may contain carcinogen as well as other chemicals that can be harmful for children as well as pregnant women.”
 
Mumbai based homemaker Meera Chatterjee says, “Processed foods constitute a significant portion of our diet. But when it comes to children, it is always more advisable to read the labels and ingredients thoroughly before feeding children processed foods.”
 
It should also be kept in mind that most baby food available in the market are actually processed food. These foods are not only hygienically packaged and have high quality ingredients, but can also be safer for children. For example, processed milk is a safer option than raw milk due to the presence of live microbes in the latter. Similarly, there are various other raw products that are best kept away from children till a later age.
 
Tias Chakraborty

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