Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Defending the Smart Choices Program

(First of two parts)

In response to the firestorm created by
For Your Health, Froot Loops,” The New York Times article discussed here yesterday, I phoned Kim Metcalfe, a Senior Vice President at Weber Shandwick, a global public relations firm. Metcalfe is the spokesperson for the Smart Choices Program.

Metcalfe voiced concern that Eileen Kennedy, the dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, was misrepresented by the story’s author, William Neuman, despite spending more than two hours on the phone with Neuman.

(True or not, Kennedy needs to explain her statement, “You’re rushing around, you’re trying to think about healthy eating for your kids and you have a choice between a doughnut and a cereal. So Froot Loops is a better choice.”

The Friedman School's public relations department would not discuss Kennedy's quote and said that Kennedy was unavailable for comment.)

Metcalfe said the Smart Choices Program is a work in progress and that the Food and Drug Administration was kept abreast of the group’s doings over the last three years.

“You can’t make everyone happy,” Metcalfe said, “but the program will get better.”

Metcalfe understood the negative response to the fact that the Smart Choices Program is funded by big food companies and can be construed as an in-house marketing program. But, she said, the products are not given a free pass, as F.D.A. and U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines are consulted, with the goal of helping shoppers make better decisions.

(Part two tomorrow)

1 comment:

TheChocolatePriestess said...

None of these labels ever excuses a person from reading and understanding the nutritional information as well as basic health and food facts. That should start when you are purchasing food, not when you are rushing around to feed your kids and get everyone out the door in the morning.