Has anyone heard about the controversy over the "Smart Choice" food labels? The FDA and a few nutrition-conscious-consumer-rights groups are freaking out because Kellogg's put a "Smart Choice" food label on their boxes of Fruit Loops. Apparently Fruit Loops aren't healthy. Who knew?
Well everybody knew, obviously. I seriously doubt there are a lot of people in the world who decided to make their New Year's Resolution: To be healthy by eating more Fruit Loops. So I suppose in the interest of preserving our very loosely enforced laws in regards to false advertising we should probably make Kellogg's and other producers of high sugar foods take the Smart Choice label off. But the FDA and the before mentioned advocacy groups want to take it a step further. They are considering a uniformed labeling system for which corporate participation might possibly be voluntary but could conceivably be mandatory. This labeling system would have certain colored dots or circles for foods high in sugar, another color for foods high in fat and so on.
I'm assuming that all these dots will have words inside them saying things like "high sugar," and "high fat," because if I have to remember that blue stands for corn syrup I'm pretty much sunk.
But wait! I don't have to remember anything! All I have to do is look at the nutritional information panel THAT IS ALREADY THERE and read what the sugar content is! How lucky is that!
As you've probably noticed, I'm being a bit sarcastic but I really think that this food labeling thing the FDA is being pushed to adopt will not be useful and be rather difficult to enforce. I don't think people eat Cocoa Puffs because they think they're healthy or because they are stupid enough to think they're low in sugar. I think they eat them because they taste good and they want to treat themselves. Now it's true that some people like to treat themselves all the time but I don't think a blue dot is going to change that. It might not be a bad idea to make nutrition a required class for kids in school and perhaps the schools those kids attend could send leaflets home with the parents a few times a year talking about what foods might help their children focus and help them avoid health problems. I can't even argue with the way some of the chain restaurants now have calorie counts next to every menu option. Yes, it drives me nuts when I go out to enjoy a decadent meal and then find myself staring at my menu only to discover that the dish I was planning on eating contains 1000 calories but it does make me rethink ordering it. However the difference between a restaurant and a product that you buy in the supermarket is that unless somebody lists the nutritional information about the dishes you might be ordering at a restaurant you don't know what it is but if you buy a comparable frozen dinner at Safeway all you have to do is turn over the box and it's all there.
I know that the FDA and the consumer groups mean well but I just don't believe this so-called "obesity epidemic," is rooted in the extreme stupidity of the American populace and I find this call for a color coded circle system to be as silly as Coca Cola's CEO's apparent fear that Michelle Obama's call for children to consume less sugar is going to negatively affect his company's sales.
I do believe in encouraging accountability but at some point we just have to allow people to make their own mistakes. Now tonight I'm going to stop at See's Candy and get myself a dark chocolate Butterchew and if anyone tells me how many calories are in it I will hunt them down and shoot them.
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