Sunday, January 31, 2010

Decoding food labels: CSPI says don’t believe the hype

Tired of being lied to by food producers’ creative marketing practices? Grocery shopping can be a little overwhelming. There are so many options and new health food brands are constantly emerging and declaring themselves “healthy”, “immunity boosting”, “all natural”, and as having “0 g trans fat” (as if I wasn’t going to check the saturated fat to find that, shocker, ice cream isn’t really good for me after all). Don’t fall for the traps. The Center for Science in the Public Interest is on a mission to get the FDA to crackdown on false and misleading information presented on real food and what I like to call “food-like substances” or junk food labels. The report, released in December, calls for the FDA to completely reform nutrition labeling practices and calls out some of our favorite food manufacturers for luring us to certain products by claiming that they are “lightly sweetened”, like breakfast cereals for kids, when there is no FDA criteria for “lightly sweetened” products . “All natural” is another common misnomer. If an ingredient was added that did not occur naturally in production, then it is no longer “all natural.” The FDA took on General Mills last year to get them to stop exaggerating the powers of Cheerios, but those commercials with the kids who are so concerned with mom and dad’s health and well-being that they want to feed them Cheerios for breakfast, lunch, and dinner are so cute. Check out the report, even Kashi and Glaceau have been called out. With record rates of overweight, obesity, and type 2 diabetes in the US, the bottom line, according to CSPI senior staff attorney, Ringel Heller, is "companies should market their foods without resorting to the deceit and dishonesty that's so common today. And, if they don't, the FDA should make them.


NYT: Six Meaningless Claims on Food Labels

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