A HEALTH chief has slammed the “irresponsible” and “breathtakingly dangerous” sale of kids’ munchie boxes filled with sweets and chocolate.
Sweet shops have now started producing their own version of the notorious late-night takeaway.
Instead of kebab meat, chips and chicken pakora, the kids’ munchie boxes are filled to the brim with chews, chocolate and cake.
The boxes are made to order, with children able to create a wide range of their favourite sweets in one box, from chewy fried eggs and fizzy cola bottles, to chocolate and jelly babies.
The boxes are available at different prices, with the smallest starting at £5, through to the largest at £20 and are intended to be eaten over a few days.
A typical sweet-filled “munchie box” contains a numerous chocolate bars and fizzy sweets, lying a on a bed of various chews and crunchy treats.
The daily sugar intake as recommended by NHS guidelines states that children aged seven to 10, should have no more than 24 grams of sugar.
A “sweetie munchie box” can contain upwards of 70 grams from just the chocolate, fizzy bottles and fried eggs alone, before someone thinks about eating the various small chews and confectionary underneath.
A leading health expert has criticised the boxes, which contain sugars which can be “devastating” to people’s health.
Dr Nigel Carter, CEO of the Oral Health Foundation, said: “We have a serious problem with ‘sweetie culture’ in the UK, where sugary snacks are remarkably cheap and freely available.
“Many people ignore all the warnings around the damage they can do just because they are cheap.
“Products such as these are breathtakingly dangerous and are contributing to the children’s oral health crisis we are experiencing in the UK.”
He continued: ““These sweets consist entirely of ‘free sugars’ which have no nutritional value whatsoever yet are devastating to many aspects of health, not least our oral health.
“These boxes are mainly aimed at children and young people which is simply unacceptable.
“If you were to eat even a quarter of the sweets in this box over a prolonged period, your teeth will be under constant attack, contributing to tooth decay and the pain and discomfort which comes with it.
“We have to understand that tooth decay is an entirely preventable problem and promotions such as this should not be seen as acceptable and pressure should be put on them to withdraw these ‘munchie boxes’ from sale.”
The Sweet Stop shop in Dunfermline, Fife, started selling the kids’ munchie boxes earlier this month and owner, Susan Cowan, says that it’s up to parents to ensure their children eat a balanced diet.
She said: “The way I look at it, it’s all about balance. It’s up to parents of children to make sure they eat well and that the boxes are a treat.
“They can be huge so over a few nights is how I would think most people would eat them. We do them as small as £5 so those ones are not huge.
Joe’s Sweetie Barn, in Bellshill, North Lanarkshire, are offering their “Friday night in” version of the sweet-filled munchie box for £10.
Whilst Candyland in Broxburn, West Lothian, provide their own take with a “sweet and sour” box, filled with tangy sweets for £5.
The Oral Health foundation reported that over 33,000 children were admitted to hospital last year to have rotten teeth removed, which is the largest cause of child admissions to hospital in the UK.
The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) recently advised that no more than 5% of someone’s diet should be from free sugars, which occur other foods outwith confectionery.
The original, late-night version of a munchie box consumed by someone at stumble-home o’clock, typically contains, chips, cheese, pizza, pakora, kebab meat and onion rings.