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Crackdown on Food Packaging Labels

Author: Oksana Aron, MD Source: Weight Loss NYC Nov 1, 2009

Do you read nutrition facts labels when you shop for groceries? Many people don't, and don't always have the time to. Many food manufacturers try to make things simple by placing logos on the product packaging proclaiming the items are "smart choices" or "heart healthy" -- but might not be, making it ever more important to read those labels to keep your diet in check.

The FDA is currently trying to crack down on the food industry's labeling claims that could mislead consumers. This comes after a group of major foodmakers, including ConAgra Foods, Kellogg's and Unilever started a Smart Choices program in August 2009 that put a green "Smart Choices" checkmark logo on numerous food products.

These labels were also placed on foods that contain up to 50 percent sugar and represent up to as much as 80 percent of your daily fat intake. Some of the products highlighted the fact that they contain zero trans fats, but did not point out high levels of saturated fats.

That's why the FDA sent the Smart Choices program a letter stating that it could confuse consumers into choosing processed foods over fruits and vegetables. The FDA is now in the works of devising stricter front-packaging labeling on food products and the Smart Choices program is suspending its operations.

--New York Times; Washington Post

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