Sunday, October 18, 2009
Can You Trust Food Labels?
* Capri Sun beverages were labeled as “All Natural” even though they were made with high-fructose corn syrup (when contacted by CSPI, the company said it was modifying the label). The FDA has failed to formally define the term.
* Gerber Graduates for Toddlers Fruit Juice Snacks depicted fruits on the label and suggested that the product is made from fruit. But the product’s predominant ingredients are corn syrup and sugar. CSPI, but not the FDA, is challenging the claim in federal court.
* Kraft’s Crystal Light Immunity Berry Pomegranate drink falsely claimed that its vitamins A, C, and E will “help maintain a healthy immune system.” The FDA said it would consider placing the issue on its work plan for next year.
* Mars Cocoa Via Brand Heart Healthy Snacks claimed that it “Promotes a healthy heart”, and "reduces" bad cholesterol.” The chocolate candy contains significant amounts of saturated fat, which can raise bad cholesterol. The company has ignored an FDA warning to halt the claim, and the agency has failed to follow-up its demands in court.
* Nestle Crunch Ice Cream Bars have claimed “0g Trans Fat,” but contain 11 grams of saturated fat, which also raises cholesterol levels. The FDA failed to act on a CSPI complaint over the issue.
* Thomas’ Hearty Grains Double Fiber Honey Wheat Muffins label has boasted that the product is “made with whole grain,” but the predominant ingredient is white flour. The FDA issued a weak policy pronouncement on the issue, but has taken no enforcement action.
Another report released this month states that the FDA and USDA are not "kept in the loop" regarding imported foods further exacerbating an already dysfunctional food supply system that is increasingly reliant on food imports to sustain our food supply economy. So, the bottom line here is to be wary but eat smart.
GAO Report On Food Labeling
CSPI Report on Accuracy and Truthfullness In Food Labeling