You may be catching yourself looking at food labels more than ever. I’m betting you’ve learned a few things you didn’t know about some of your favorite foods. Continue to pay attention to the little deceiving details. Many statements are not regulated or are loosely based on the truth.
“Made with” and “made from” claims warrant a closer look. “Made with real fruit” is a common claim in children’s food and drinks that is quite deceptive. Many “fruit” drinks and snacks are not even made from the very fruit shown on their labels, and are often high in sugar, artificial colors and flavors. This is especially true in products for very young children. The recent FDA crackdown on misleading claims targeted several large, go-to brands for misleading juice content and unauthorized nutrient claims.
One shifty front of package shows a grouping of several fruits on the front of the package and a loud claim that their product contains no high-fructose corn syrup… yet a glance at the label reveals less than 2% juice and none of the other fruits pictured. The first ingredients listed, however, are water and cane sugar.
It is common for fruit snacks not to include any real fruit except pear concentrate, which is easily disguised as other fruits with the addition of natural and artificial ingredients.
Time for change
Disappointing? Definitely. But a closer look will spot the deception almost every time. With the continued efforts of CSPI and the FDA, false health claims will hopefully diminish and eventually disappear so food labels will be a breeze to scan, even with kids in tow.
So read your labels and be an educated consumer. Remember, if a product is shouting it’s health claims, it’s probably not that healthy. (After all, when was the last time you saw a green “Smart Choice” check and a free movie ticket giveaway on your bag of spinach?)”
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