Unfortunately I did not do my research and made vague statements about nutritional claims on the product’s package, eliciting this comment from Anonymous:
"If someone works for a food company you know that you MUST follow the FDA regulations. 'Good Source' is a valid regulation and this product DOES NOT contain preservatives. Shame on you 'Chef Bob' for writing such a ridiculous blog. Ever hear of personal responsibility? You don't have to eat this food everyday [sic]."I’ll tackle both the knowledge of food company employees and personal responsibility in other posts this week, but today is about the intricacies of food labeling.
F.D.A. regulations strictly regulate what can and can’t be written. For example, “good source” is not a subjective phrase, as I incorrectly suggested. From the guidance page of the F.D.A. website (RDI = reference daily intake, DRV = daily reference value, DV = daily value):
"A 'good source' claim may be made when a food contains 10-19% of the RDI or DRV (both declared on the label as the DV). A 'high' claim may be made when a food contains at least 20% of the DV."Thus, Pinnacle’s claim that its frozen confetti pancakes are a “good source of 6 vitamins and minerals” is within bounds, since phosphorous, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, iron and sodium exceed 10 percent.
But the labeling seems one-sided. Shouldn’t the F.D.A. also be forcing the processed food companies to place warning labels on junk food, similar to tobacco products? Under the current system we are told what is (seemingly) healthy without any information about the dangers of other ingredients.
Would Pinnacle sell as many confetti pancakes if the hazards of artificial colors, hydrogenated oils and bleached flours were spelled out on the box? Would parents stop to consider the ramifications of their purchasing decisions?
Hesitantly, I spent $3.49 to see this product in person. The photo above is of a pancake’s interior (neon “confetti” exposed!), next to a carrot and red pepper. Make sure to be wearing sunglasses when you click to enlarge it.