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FDA Rethinks "Smart Choice" Food Labels

FDA Rethinks "Smart Choice" Food Labels

When the concept behind the "Smart Choice" food labels was introduced, it sounded like a good idea. The goal was to provide easy to digest nutritional information on the front of food packages and the products bearing the label were to meet health guidelines — low calorie count, low in sugar. But when the green check mark made its debut this August, it seemed rather fishy that the cereal Fruit Loops, which lists sugar as its first ingredient, could score the "Smart Choice" badge of approval.

The FDA is cracking down on the use of the label and many large food corporations, like Pepsi-Co and Kellogg's, are suspending their use of the symbol while the FDA creates guidelines for nutritional labels used on the front of food packages. Although no time line was given, the FDA has plans to design a standardized food labeling system, to replace the many voluntary nutritional labels that have been created by the food industry, supermarkets, and nutritionists. The FDA will be working with food manufacturers as well as nutritionists to create a label that helps shoppers select healthy foods. My suggestion: don't rely on the front or the back, read the ingredients and the nutritional panel. Or shop for whole foods and forgo products with labels entirely.

Join The Conversation
Kimpossible Kimpossible 7 years
I'm glad they're rethinking the labels too. However, society needs to take some responsibility as well and get educated on what is truly healthy. Much of it is common sense and some of it requires a bit of reading and research, but it's certainly not an impossible task.
Spectra Spectra 7 years
I think the labels are a bit misleading as well. I'm glad they're rethinking the labeling system because I would definitely not consider Froot Loops to be a "healthy" cereal, even if they do have vitamins added to them or whatever.
1apple 1apple 7 years
You know what I'd like to see? Labels with the amount of teaspoons of sugar per serving, not just the grams of sugar. When I think "12 grams of sugar", it doesn't seem like much. But knowing that equates to several teaspoons...yiee.
mamasitamalita mamasitamalita 7 years
I think in theory this is a great idea... and I'm sure Kelloggs, etc. are being truthful in saying "YAY! This has X grams of healthiness per serving!" They also say that serving size is a certain amount, whereas when you pour a bowl of cereal its usually larger than what they categorize, and HELLO sugar in Fruit Loops! Sneaky but not malicious, I don't think.. good for the FDA for scratching their heads.
Yogaforlife Yogaforlife 7 years
I see this all the time - foods that are labeled with the "Smart Choice" green check and that aren't healthy at all. Drives me nuts. I like the concept but it's being abused by the food companies - they'll put a smart choice label on anything that's a good source of a vitamin, even if it's loaded with sugar and fat.
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