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    INTERNATIONAL NEWS

    Britain, Australia downsizing chocolate bars as obesity concerns take over.

    King-sized chocolate bars in both Britain and Australia are expected to shrink to a more modest form soon, as the nations' candy manufacturers have agreed to downsize the confectionary items to help combat obesity.

    Members of the British Food and Drink Federation, including Nestlé and Kraft Foods, have also pledged to make food labels clearer and to make their products healthier by continuing to reduce sugar, salt and fat levels.

    Details of what's being labeled the first Manifesto for Food and Health also include plans to remove vending machines from elementary schools unless "specifically requested."

    Oversized bars averaging 80 to 100 grams make up 43 percent of chocolate bars sold in convenience stores, said Anton van den Berg, the marketing director of the research firm ACNielsen.

    The words "king-sized" and the 85-gram format for Mars and Snickers will disappear from Australian shelves next year, said a Masterfoods Australia spokesman, Tony Chew. Instead, Masterfoods will "portion the bar into two parts so it can be shared or eaten in two sittings."

    Chew said this would provide a pyschological barrier to overconsumption. "If there's no barrier there ... you are likely to consume the whole thing," he said.

    Cadbury's head office in Britain said it would ax king-size Crunchie bars by next February as part of a commitment by the British food industry to abandon the term "king-sized." A Cadbury Schweppes spokesman said the Australian office was reviewing its portion sizes.

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