FDA Says Smart Choice Products Might Not Be So
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported that nutritional logos from food manufacturers that suggest the product is a smart choice nutritionally might not be a smart choice.
The FDA says that these logo’s ay be misleading consumers about the actual health benefits of items such as cereal, crackers and other processed foods. The FDA began sending letters to these companies making them aware that they will be “cracking down” on inaccurate food labeling.
This comes about after many U.S. manufacturers, including Kellogg, Kraft Foods and General Mills, began to produce their “Smart Choices” program last year, in the midst of the concerns about the obesity rates in America. The new green labels appear on the front of foods that meet certain standards for calories per serving and fat content suggesting it is a smart nutritional choice.
“There are products that have gotten the Smart Choices check mark that are almost 50 percent sugar," FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said. She added that she hoped industry would cooperate with the FDA to develop standardized "labeling that all Americans can trust and use to build better diets."
“Froot Loops? Froot Loops! I rest my case," said Marion Nestle, nutrition professor at New York University. "No nutritionist I know would recommend Froot Loops for breakfast." A congresswoman has asked the Food and Drug Administration to investigate whether products have been "misbranded."
Last week, after learning that Froot Loops had qualified, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) asked the FDA to investigate the program. Kevin Brennan, DeLauro's chief of staff, said, "We'd like to see that Smart Choices be smart choices. Our feeling is that they are not."
"We share the congresswoman's concerns and will continue to look very hard at Smart Choices as well as front-of-pack nutrition labeling programs overall," an FDA spokeswoman said.
Mike Hughes, chair of the Smart Choices Program, said in a statement that Smart Choices is based on the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans. "We believe in the science behind the Smart Choices Program," he said. "We also look forward to the opportunity to participate in FDA's initiatives on front-of-package labeling."
The bottom line is that smart choice products might not be such a smart choice.
References: Arizona News and LA Times
Written by Tyler Woods Ph.D.
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