October 29, 2009

Front of Package Food Labeling Crackdown

The food industry has reacted quickly to the FDA's threatened crackdown on front of package labeling. On October 24, the New York Times reported PepsiCo is suspending its controversial SmartChoices™ food labeling program. Featured on foods as laughable as Froot Loops™ cereal boxes, logo programs like PepsiCo's SmartSpot and their General Mills' SmartChoices are industry-sponsored icons intended to override the nutritional deficits played out on the Nutrition Facts panel on the side of such packaging.

While mega-food companies suspend and scale back front of packaging (FOP) labeling, the best recommendations for choosing healthful foods will live on on the side of the food package. The government-mandated Nutrition Facts Panel and Ingredients List remain truthful, scientifically-derived roadmaps to what your food contains.

For those of you interested in your fiber intake - pay attention to the side packaging highlighted in a previous post:
  • Dietary Fiber: look for 3 grams or more of dietary fiber per serving of starchy bread foods
  • Ingredient List: look for "whole grain" or "whole wheat" as the first ingredient in starchy bread foods
Keep in mind: the front of the package is advertising and the side of the packaging is truth. While the cover of the book may be what sells, the Table of Contents always gives a better picture of what you're going to get inside!