(NaturalNews) Even though food packages have been required by the FDA to include nutritional value on their food labels since 1994, there still isn`t any regulation on the front-of-package advertising. Claims posted on front-of-packaging is often wrong, misleading and confusing. Just because a manufacturer posts on its package that its all natural, this doesn`t make it healthy.
Manufacturers attract buyers with deceiving front of package ads Food items claiming to be all natural, healthy, a good source of whole grain, low fat or high fiber are often deceiving. The front of food packages aren`t currently regulated by the FDA; therefore, manufacturers can post pretty much whatever they want on the package to attract buyers. Touting a product as healthy is a tactic manufacturers use to increase sales without having to actually make the product any healthier.
All natural doesn`t mean healthy One example of deceiving front-of-package labels is use of the term "all natural" on the front of snack products. While it is a positive step that manufactures use fewer additives and more natural ingredients, it doesn`t make their products a healthy snack choice. Chips, crackers and other popular snacks are still loaded with salt and fat. Advertising that these snacks are "all natural" doesn`t give consumers permission to eat as much as they want because its a so-called healthy product.
Regulation needed for front of package claims The FDA is working on a front-of-the-package labeling system. The goal of this system is to help regulate food labels and require manufactures to post the most important nutritional data on the front of their packages. Aimed at encouraging consumers to read labels and become informed consumers, the front-of-package labeling system needs to be easy to read and uniform for all food products.
The FDA did develop the Smart Choices Program that included an icon symbolizing their approval, as well as the calorie count. The Smart Choices Program has not been a huge success because it is too lenient in its requirements. According to the standards set in the program, foods with less than 25% of the total calories in sugar and less than 35% of total calories in fat were healthy choices. There were still a long list of unhealthy products that qualified for the smart choice label.
More regulation is needed on front-of-package advertising, and stricter standards need to be in place to help consumers make better choices for their overall health. Meanwhile, its worth your time to read the nutrition labels of the back of packages and become an informed consumer - rather than trusting that there is truth in advertising when manufacturers claim their products are all natural, better for you or healthy.