Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Truth Inside the Box

Has anyone else ever heard of the Center for Science in the Public Interest? I haven't but they are kind of awesome.

They are fighting the battle against misleading or untruthful nutritional labeling. My kind of people. Here's a list from their website with some of the biggest name brand offenders:

Kellogg: On labels for Smart Start Strawberry Oat Bites cereal, the company deliberately misreads a report from the Institute of Medicine to claim, falsely, that consumers can eat 125 grams—more than half a cup—of added sugars per day.

NestlĂ©: Labels for the company's Carnation Instant Breakfast misleadingly claim that its antioxidants "help support the immune system." While it is true that serious deficiencies in vitamins A, C, and E and other antioxidants can lead to serious health problems, consuming this or other products that make this common claim won’t help ward off colds, the flu, or other maladies.

Glacéau: The Coca-Cola-owned product bears a confusing double-column Nutrition Facts label that gives the impression that a 20-ounce bottle of VitaminWater contains multiple servings. Yet the company knows full well that the product is typically consumed by one person on a single occasion, delivering 125 calories, not the 50 in a "serving." CSPI says the dual-column format should be barred.

Edy's: Labels for Dibs Bite Sized Snacks boast "0g trans fat!"—giving the impression that the product is heart-healthy. Yet a serving of this ice cream snack has 16 grams of saturated fat—80 percent of the daily value. CSPI says the FDA should prohibit companies from boasting of "0 grams trans" on foods with more than 1 gram of saturated fat per serving. FDA already has similar limits on "cholesterol free" and "healthy" claims.

Gerber: Labels for Gerber Graduates Juice Treats—a product intended for pre-schoolers—picture an abundance of fruit: oranges, grapes, peaches, cherries, pineapple, and raspberries. Yet there is no cherry, orange, or pineapple in the product, and less than 2 percent is raspberry and apple juice concentrate. The main ingredients are corn syrup and sugar, providing 17 grams—or about four teaspoons—of refined sugars per serving.

It's okay to highlight the positives, but not if it misrepresents the reality of the product.

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