A "SMART CHOICE" THAT ISN'T

Chances are that you care about the nutritional value of the food you buy for your family, so you'll be delighted to know that a new, easy-to-see label has been devised for food packages to guide your nutritional choices.

Chances are that you care about the nutritional value of the food you buy for your family, so you’ll be delighted to know that a new, easy-to-see label has been devised for food packages to guide your nutritional choices.

Under this handy consumer program, hundreds of approved food products in your supermarket are getting a bold, green checkmark printed right on the front of the package, along with the reassuring phrase, “Smart Choices.” No need to read those tedious lists of ingredients on the back, for the simple green check mark is henceforth your guarantee of nutritional yunniness. For example, you’ll find it on such items as Froot Loops and Fudgesicle bars.

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Huh? Why is our government sanctioning these sugar-saturated, borderline junk foods as nutritionally superior choices? It’s not. The Smart Choices program is an industry scam, created and paid for by such outfits as Coca-Cola, ConAgra, General Mills, Kellogg’s, Kraft, and PepsiCo.

But even by industry standards, this is goofy. I mean – come on, Froot Loops? A serving of this stuff is 41 percent sugar. That’s a heaver dose than if you fed cookies to your kids for breakfast.

Well, sniffs one of the designers of the corporate labeling scheme, it’s not a matter of these processed concoctions actually being good for you, but of them being somewhat better than outright bad foods. For example, she says, when choosing a breakfast item for your kids, better to grab a sugary cereal than a doughnut.

Wow, talk about setting a low bar for nutritional quality! Indeed, food manufacturers can slap a Smart Choice label on a product just by adding some vitamin C to it, even if the product also contains caffeine, saccharine, and chemical additives known to cause cancer and other diseases. That’s not smart, it’s stupid – and deceptive.

“For Your Health, Froot Loops,” The New York Times, September 5, 2009.

“Resignation letter of Mr. Brad S. from the Keystone Roundtable,” October 2, 2008.

“Big new labels meant to help food shoppers make ‘Smart Choices,'” www.usatoday.com, October 24, 2008.

“Battling the bastards is about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on.”

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