Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The End of the Smart Choices Program


For those who believe that public pressure (i.e. newspaper articles, consumer demand, expert backlash) can have an influence on policy, take pride in knowing that our voices have been heard.

It appears that the disingenuous Smart Choices Program, the brainchild of the big (packaged an
d processed) food companies, is thankfully coming to an end.

According to an article in Saturday’s New York Times, “Under pressure from state and federal authorities who feared consumers would be misled, the food industry on Friday started backing away from a major labeling campaign meant to highlight the nutritional benefits of hundreds of products.”

I wrote about the Smart Choices Program in September and questioned how a program designed to help consumers make better shopping decisions could be taken seriously when foodstuffs such as Froot Loops cereal, Skippy pe
anut butter and Fudgsicle bars earn a green checkmark, the Smart Choices sign of approval.

Mercifully, PepsiCo and Kellogg’s are ending their relationship, while the program itself said “it would stop recruiting companies to take part . . . and stop promoting the program to consumers.”

The Food and Drug Administration has indicated it will take a greater role in front-of-package nutrition labeling. Governmental oversight
—which I am sure will have many holes—can’t be as hypocritical as Kellogg’s telling us that Froot Loops and Corn Pops are good options.

Remember, our actions and shopping decisions directly affect what is made available to us.

Want antibiotic-free chickens in your supermarket? Take two minutes and tell the store manager. If nothing changes, shop at another store where the better options are available. Don’t want artificial colors in the food you buy for your kids? Take two minutes and call the manufacturer’s toll-free number. Then find alternatives; trust me, they exist.


Miranda said...

This is good news. Now if only General Mills would stop advertising Froot Loops as "now with fiber!"-3 measly grams and 12 grams of sugar-twice as much as the suggested amount.

Miranda said...

I meant Kelloggs but you get the point