Industry giant Mars Food is out with an unusual suggestion: It wants people to cut back on its pasta sauces. The company says its Dolmio sauces, Uncle Ben's oriental sauces, and some other products containing high levels of salt, sugar, or fat should be consumed only once a week as part of a balanced diet, reports Reuters. It plans to make that clear with new food labels marked "occasional." About "95% of our product portfolio will fall into the 'everyday' category," a rep tells the BBC, adding that some "occasional" products will be revamped to limit sodium, sugar, or fat. Mars Food is a branch of Mars Inc., and the parent company's sweets, including M&M's, Snickers, and Starburst , aren't affected by the labeling change.
"We're holding ourselves to a much higher standard ... which will lead us to further reducing sodium across our global product portfolio by an average of 20% by 2021," the rep says. The company also plans to cut added sugar in certain sauces and meals by 2018, use more whole grains and veggies, and has asked the FDA to issue voluntary guidelines for salt in processed food, reports Bloomberg. The latter move is the first of its kind by an American foodmaker. "Mars signposted their direction of travel towards healthier products several years ago and are now putting their money where their mouth is," says a rep for the UK's National Obesity Forum, calling the labeling move "hugely unusual" and "very imaginative." (Read more food stories.)