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Nutella must pay parents who thought chocolate spread was a healthy choice

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Do you remember the first time you sampled Nutella as a breakfast food? Maybe smeared on a French baguette? You probably felt like you were getting away with something with every chocolate-hazelnut bite.

Well, it turns out not everyone knows that the chocolately treat is basically a candy bar in a creamy form.

A California class-action lawsuit that slammed the makers of Nutella for ads suggesting the spread was a healthy food was settled this week in favour of consumers. About $2.5-million (U.S.) will now be divided among folks who file a claim and join the suit, according The Consumerist.

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But some observers have had it with what they see as faux-naïveté on the part of people such as the mom who filed the suit. Over at The Stir, blogger Julie Ryan Evans says it's a company's job to try and sell us their products.

"I'm sick of parents blaming everyone from McDonald's and their Happy Meal toys to cereal companies and their jovial cartoon characters for trying to make their kids fat and unhealthy, when it's our job first and foremost to determine what foods they eat and don't. It's a little thing called personal responsibility," she writes. "So congratulations on the lawsuit, but I find it ridiculous, and it's frankly insulting to consumers and mothers who DO read labels."

It's not like people haven't been pointing out that Nutella is basically candy. Blogger Annie Urban even undertook a nutritional comparison of Nutella and cheap chocolate frosting, finding that the frosting had fewer calories, less fat and more iron, of all things.

If this is all news to you, scores of food bloggers and nutritionists have been busy concocting various homemade versions of the yummy spread, using hazelnuts and cocoa.

Is it hard to figure out which foods are good choices for kids? Should companies have to pay up for making unhealthy products?

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About the Author

Tralee Pearce has been a reporter at The Globe and Mail since 1999, starting as a writer in the paper’s Style section. She joined the new Life section for its launch in 2007. She covers parenting and family issues for the daily section. More

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