Wednesday, May 27, 2009
FDA Allows Food Industry to Bend Truth
FDA and USDA nutrition labeling guide: decision diagrams, checklists, and regulations
By Tracy A. Altman
Published by CRC Press, 1998
ISBN 1566767067, 9781566767064
I thought I would share the above little snippet about FDA labeling on low calorie products. I'm not sure if you can read it but to paraphrase it says that products can be labeled Zero Calories if they contain less than 5 calories per labeled serving size. So, that's why some sweeteners and diet soft drinks can say they are zero calorie per serving but technically if you have enough of it you may be adding a fair bit of extra calories.
There seems to be games that are played with some companies reducing their serving size just so they can claim their product has no calories. Does a litre of diet pop actually have no calories? No. It could have as many as 14 calories. But the serving size shown is for 355ml and therefore shows no calories.
There is nothing that grinds on me more than the manipulation of truth by a whole industry. There are definitely some products that seem to abuse this labeling policy more than others. I hope that I can identify them and bring their tactics into the spotlight where they deserve to be. Do you know of any? I'd like to hear it.
I'm happy to say that aside from the occasional Splenda packet or diet pop this labeling doesn't affect me greatly. It really bothers me that it could add as much as an extra few percent to someone's daily calorie consumption just due to manipulation of a labeling policy. Is it a pressing issue? Is major harm done? No. However, the public can handle the truth and they want the truth. Tell me that my diet pop has 4 calories per can instead of saying it's Calorie Free.
What other skeletons are in the Food Industries labeling closet?