Originally published November 2 2009
Fraudulent "Smart Choices" food labeling program crumbles as food manufacturers flee scrutiny (opinion)
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, NaturalNews Editor
(NaturalNews) The fraudulent "Smart Choices" food labeling gimmick that sought to push sugary cereals as "healthy foods" is crumbling amid the pullout of Kellogg, Unilever and PepsiCo. These companies have been distancing themselves from the fraudulent labeling scam ever since the FDA announced the labeling might be "misleading" and said it intended to investigate.
Kraft Foods, on the other hand, is still neck-deep in the program and insists it will continue to use the "Smart Choices" symbol on its own processed, factory-made food products. The Smart Choices organization itself also continues to defend its position, declaring that labeling processed, sugared-up dead foods as "Smart" is a great idea. "Our nutrition criteria are based on sound, consensus science," said Smart Choices chair Mike Hughes (in all seriousness).
As NaturalNews previously reported (http://www.naturalnews.com/027077_nutrition_...), the fraudulent Smart Choices food labeling program was being led by a Tufts University dean named Dr. Eileen Kennedy, a woman who continues to insist that sugary breakfast cereals made with 40% sugar, artificial coloring chemicals and partially-hydrogenated oils are really, really healthy for kids! (Eat more!) To paraphrase her view, they're smart choices because they are "better than a donut."
The whole purpose of the Smart Choice program, of course, was to influence gullible parents into buying highly-processed, dead food products that earn more profits for participating food companies. And in order to accomplish that, this group had to abandon commonsense nutrition and push processed food products onto a nation full of children who are already obese, diabetic and increasingly diagnosed with ADHD.
That's why Michael Jacobson from the CSPI resigned from the group early on. He said publicy, "It was paid for by industry and when industry put down its foot and said this is what we're doing, that was it, end of story."
The American Society for Nutrition pretends to invoke scienceThis Smart Choices program was also engineered in part by the American Society for Nutrition, a corporate-sponsored group that caters to the financial and political interests of its members like GlaxoSmithKline, Eli Lilly, Monsanto, Procter & Gamble, the Sugar Association, Abbott Laboratories, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, ConAgra Foods, National Dairy Council, PepsiCo and the drug giant Wyeth. (http://www.nutrition.org/media/about-asn/mis...)
(Are you starting to get the picture here yet?)
The American Society for Nutrition has now removed their former page touting the Smart Choices program (http://www.nutrition.org/news/smart-choices-...). Now, the page just says, "The page you requested is forbidden. The page you are looking for is restricted."
For its role in the Smart Choices scheme, the American Society for (Mal?)Nutrition has received the Integrity Disgrace Award from TheNewIQ.com. (http://www.thenewiq.com/integritywatch-blog/...).
Page 19 of its 2007-2008 annual report explains that the American Society for Nutrition seeks to "Position [itself] as an authoritative leader in nutrition through science."
It's laughable, of course, when you're pushing refined sugar to children and calling it a "smart" choice. Where's the science in that? Maybe all the scientists they hired are whacked out on a sugar high from eating too much Froot Loops...
Complete marketing hoaxI find it fascinating that the minute the FDA says it's going to investigate the Smart Choices labeling program, the big food companies who funded the project flee like cockroaches scurrying under the kitchen counter. If the Smart Choices program was really based on such great nutritional science as its hucksters claim, then why did these food companies distance themselves as quickly as possible the minute a hint of scrutiny was announced?
The reason, of course, is because the entire Smart Choices program was a fraud to begin with. Nutritionally, it was a complete joke, and from a regulatory point of view, it was a disaster... did anybody really think the processed food industry could police itself?
If a genuine Smart Choices labeling program were ever put into place, it should have required large red warning symbols on virtually all the products from the participating companies. "Warning: Don't eat this unless you, too, want to get cancer, diabetes and heart disease! (50 cents-off coupon on back!)"
I can't think of a single product made by PepsiCo that's actually good for you. Kellogg has some products that could qualify as somewhat nutritious, but Kraft Foods manufactures primarily nutrient-depleted, processed dead foods that in my opinion no parent should ever feed a child. It's difficult to imagine any of these being labeled "smart" anything. Processed, dead foods loaded with sugar and refined carbohydrates actually make children obese and diabetic, and diabetes has been scientifically linked to impaired cognitive function (http://www.naturalnews.com/027281_diabetes_s...). So if you really do the math on processed foods, they tend to make kids stupid, meaning this "Smart Choice" program would have been more accurately named, "Stupid Foods!"
Why did the FDA tolerate this fraud for so long?It's a relief to see this fraudulent Smart Choices program falling apart so quickly. The program was an outright fraud that pushed health-harming disinformation onto parents and families.
Of course, that was the whole point of the program, and it would have succeeded if it wasn't so blatantly stupid to begin with. With Smart Choices, the food industry tried to hoodwink the entire American population, and they got schooled on it by a few outspoken nutritionists who exposed the program as complete bunk. Dr. Eileen Kennedy also got an earful, most likely, for her role as head honcho of the fraudulent program, if not for her hilarious comment about processed foods being "smart" because they're better than donuts.
Any person who tries to push 40% sugar cereals onto children while labeling it a "Smart Choice" probably deserves to be caned in a public square in Singapore. Or better yet, they should have their hands tied behind their backs and thrown into a neck-deep marsh pit full of soggy Froot Loops then ordered to try to eat their way back to shore without getting diabetes...
But here's my real question: You know how the FDA conducts raids on herbal companies that dare to tell the truth about their herbal products, like the fact that astragalus supports immune function? (http://www.naturalnews.com/027303_the_FTC_Am...) Well, why isn't the FDA threatening PepsiCo, Kraft Foods, Unilever and Kellogg with the confiscation of their products that are being sold through these fraudulent labeling claims?
In other words, why does the FDA threaten companies that tell the truth on their labels, but it completely ignores (influential) companies that lie on their labels? If the FDA had any real credibility left, it would have sent nasty warning letters to these big food companies long ago, threatening their CEOs with criminal arrest and prosecution, confiscating their products, shutting down their companies and listing them on the FDA website as violators of federal law.
But that never happened. Care to guess why? The answer, as you well know, is because in the food and drug industries, MONEY TALKS. The companies with the big bucks get a wink and a nod instead of a threatening letter. In fact, it was only after a huge public outcry forcing the FDA's hand that these food companies decided to flee the Smart Choice labeling program at all. Had nobody raised a stink about it, absolutely zero enforcement action would have taken place.
Food companies will get away with everything the public lets them get away with. They will use dangerous chemical additives in their products, they'll target children with obesity-promoting sugary cereals, they'll engage in blatant labeling fraud to promote junk products as "smart," they'll use clever packaging illusions to make a small quantity of food look larger, and they'll even lobby lawmakers in Washington to stop the passage of any new laws that might hamper their ability to keep on selling disease-promoting products to a gullible population of hungry (but nutritionally deficient) consumers.
The only way to stop these crooks is to stand up and shout the truth about what's they're trying to shove down our throats. From processed white sugar via genetically modified sugar beets to snack chips laced with monosodium glutamate, these companies are in the business of selling poison to a population that's already among the sickest in the world.
When will the criminal investigations begin?What we really need in America goes way beyond any labeling program. What we really need is an army of deputized nutritional investigators to arrest and prosecute these food company executives for poisoning our children with aspartame, MSG, chemical food additives and nutrient-depleted processed ingredients like sugar and white flour. We need food company executives to start serving jail time for the crimes of negligence they've committed against our people.
People have a right to nutritious food. When they are forced to eat from a national food supply that makes them diseased and nutrient deficient, that's a crime. When sodas and junk foods are sold in vending machines in public schools, that's a crime against children. And when food companies engage in blatant marketing fraud to try to push their dangerous, disease-causing products onto gullible consumers, that's a violation of federal labeling laws and should be prosecuted as such.
It's time we took the crooked food companies to task. It's time we demanded honest, nutritious food that prevents disease and supports both mental and physical health. And as long as we tolerate the shenanigans of both the FDA and the big food companies it is protecting, we'll never get a national food supply that promotes a healthy population.
Here are some things you might want to check out to learn more:
This report from Yale University researchers details the marketing of sugary cereals to children:
Be sure to watch the movie Food, Inc.:
You'll find the trailer on YouTube:
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