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Big Food fools us again!

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posted on Sep, 20 2009 @ 09:34 PM
Hello everyone I cam across this article (see post below) on the Forbes app on my Blackberry regarding the Smart Choice label for healthy foods.

It is a really scary representation of how Big Food has fooled us into believing that things like fruit loops are healthy. But if you trace the funding for the Smart Choices labelling program, it is the likes of Kraft and General Mills who control this independent label for healthy choices.

Read and think before you reach for your vitaman enriched, low fat super healthy smart choice...fudgesicle.

posted on Sep, 20 2009 @ 09:34 PM
Smart Choices Foods: Dumb As They Look?"
Most people don't consider chocolate popsicles, sugary cereal and bagels filled with cream cheese as healthy foods. But it's no surprise that a new labeling program underwritten by 14 major food companies--including Kellogg , Kraft and Unilever --says otherwise.

Between 2008 and 2009, the 14 corporations paid a combined $1.47 million to fund the development of Smart Choices, a labeling initiative that stamps a green seal of approval on the front of food packaging to indicate healthier fare to consumers. Unilever's Fudgsicles, Kellogg's (nyse: K - news - people ) vitamin-enriched Froot Loops and Kraft's Bagel-fuls all now bear the Smart Choices label. (A 60-calorie Fudgsicle may be low in fat, but has almost no nutritional value and contains three different types of sugar.)

At the heart of the Smart Choices initiative is the Keystone Center, a Keystone, Colo.-based nonprofit group that mediates public-policy disputes. In 2008, Keystone convened a group of 40 food executives, academics, health advocates and government officials to develop the program's nutrition guidelines. Keystone received more than $680,000 from food companies to organize the talks; the remaining funds were spent on consumer testing.

Since it was introduced in August, the labeling program has been criticized by nutrition experts and health advocates for selecting unlikely products as healthy alternatives. It also has been portrayed as in the corner of industry; food companies that participate fund the program annually based on a sliding scale ranging from $5,000 to $100,000. They cannot add their own, additional health-themed logo on the products' packaging.

"The food companies paid because they had the ability to," said Mike Hughes, vice president and director of the Center for Science and Public Policy at Keystone. "You're not going to get [money] from the little nonprofits, so we said, 'Let's go get some,' and we passed the hat."

Hughes declined to disclose how much each company spent, citing a previous agreement that those figures would not be shared with other participants. The organization's most recent annual report shows that ConAgra (nyse: CAG - news - people ), Nestle (other-otc: NSRGY.PK - news - people ), Kraft, Kellogg, Coca-Cola (nyse: KO - news - people ), Unilever and Wrigley (nyse: WWY - news - people ) each contributed $50,000 or more. The American Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association, the only two non-industry organizations to help subsidize the cost of the panel, contributed a total of $40,000. (Keystone has listed all of these contributions as donations, but they were in fact fees for Smart Choices-related services, Hughes confirmed.)

Once convened, the group identified qualifying criteria for products in 19 food and beverage categories, with the goal of promoting items low in trans and saturated fats, cholesterol, added sugars and sodium. The criteria, which were based primarily on dietary guidelines developed by the USDA and Department of Health and Human Services, also encourage the consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and select nutrients. (See the criteria here .)

Smart Choices, which is now administered by the American Society for Nutrition and NSF International (a nonprofit public health organization), has approved approximately 800 products, including Kid Cuisine's Magical Cheese Stuffed Crust Pizza, Healthy Choice's Philly Cheese Steak Panini and Slim Fast's Rich Chocolate Royale Shake. (The pizza meal contains 23% of one's recommended daily saturated fat intake, not to mention dozens of ingredients.)

New product applications are reviewed by the ASN and NSF and the program is governed by a board of nine directors: Four seats belong to independent experts, four are held by food industry executives and the ninth is for someone with "no skin in the game," according to Hughes. He holds that seat and will for the next year.

Hughes denied that industry funding swayed the group's judgment when developing the nutrition guidelines for the program. "If a company makes a [contribution] because they value our neutrality, it does not upend that neutrality," he said.

Keystone argues that it is bringing food companies and health advocates together to help address America's obesity epidemic. "How all of this money comes together is really uninteresting," Hughes said. "It's all a way of helping these folks get a conflict resolved."

Despite Hughes' hope for resolution, the program has become controversial in many quarters. In addition to criticism from nutritionists, Smart Choices also garnered a letter from the Food and Drug Administration, expressing its concerns over potentially misleading claims.

"We do have some concerns," said Barbara Schneeman, Ph.D., the FDA's director of the Office of Nutrition, Labeling and Dietary Supplements. "It's hard for us to know what products are going to bear the logo until they show up in the marketplace."

Schneeman observed some of the roundtable discussions and was aware that the process was being paid for by industry groups.

In a response to a request for comment about its involvement with Smart Choices, Battle Creek, Mich.-based Kellogg said its financial support of the panel was an outgrowth of their consumer education efforts.

"Kellogg joined many others in the industry in investing in the development of the Smart Choices program to help consumers make informed food choices," said spokeswoman Kris Charles.

Susan Davison, a spokeswoman for Northfield, Ill.-based food giant Kraft, said there was no conflict of interest in the company's funding of the panel, referring to the fact that the nutrition criteria were developed by a coalition of food executives, academics, health advocates and government officials

Richard Kahn, Ph.D, a panel participant and now an independent consultant serving on the board of trustees, said the guidelines were designed to help people who are currently making "terrible, terrible choices" with their diets.

Kahn, who was formerly the chief scientific and medical officer for the American Diabetic Association, said it seemed unrealistic to point consumers toward less-processed foods like fruits and vegetables because the intended audience of the Smart Choices program comprises those who might be choosing between a sugary cereal and a doughnut.

"If you get someone who has diabetes and they're eating doughnuts for breakfast," he said, "anything down the ladder is a better choice."

Kahn was surprised to learn that all 14 food companies had paid for the development of Smart Choices, but said he sees no conflict of interest.

"I personally like multiple companies sponsoring," he said. "If it's just one company, people think that company gets a bias."

In this case, it appears, Fudgsicles, Froot Loops and Bagel-fuls were all treated equally.

posted on Sep, 20 2009 @ 09:50 PM
I am a very conscious label reader, and I have to say that a lot of that "smart" food is pure garbage. I know in Canada it is required to have a nutrition label on every packaged food for more informed food choices, and I read EVERYTHING. I'll tell you this much... I will NEVER buy fruit loops. They have zero nutritional value whatsoever. They are relatively low in calories, but that doesn't mean they're not high in sugar and gross food dyes.

We wonder why North America is getting so fat... Another smart food is Hellman's Mayo. Well, with ten grams of fat per TABLESPOON (15% of your recommended daily intake), how is that a good food choice? It's just eggs and oil. Doesn't sound smart to me.

Big food will do anything to keep you buying their products. I hope more people become conscious of what they put in their bodies, because they're hoping the nation will continue to be lazy and continue to get fat. More fat= more money for big pharmacy because everyone is so very, very ill. It's all connected.

Shame, really.

posted on Sep, 20 2009 @ 10:15 PM
The Ag Cartel has been trying to wipe out the independent farmer and real food since 1945. Bills about to be voted on will regulate home gardens as well as farms. Monsanto's lawyer,Mike Taylor, the new "food Czar" gets to fine you up to $1,000,000/day if you make a mistake in the paperwork! Forget going to court, there will be no judicial review allowed just Monsanto's tender mercy.

The same agricultural policies that made farmers into commodity crop growers are at the root of the current obesity epidemic. According to a report by the Institute for Agricultural and Trade Policy called “Food Without Thought: How US Farm Policy Contributes to Obesity,” “the problem with the extensive use of cheap commodities in food products is that they fall into the very dietary categories that have been linked to obesity: added sugars and fats. US Farm policies driving down the price of these commodities made added sugars and fats some of the cheapest food substances to produce. High fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated vegetable oils – products that did not even exist a few generations ago but are now hard to avoid – have proliferated thanks to artificially cheap corn and soybeans.”[13] In other words, US farm policies make poor eating habits an economically sensible choice – with long-term negative health consequences for consumers and economically devastating consequences for family farmers.....

....[a] group, called the Committee for Economic Development, was officially established in 1942 as a sister organization to the Council on Foreign Relations. CED has influenced US domestic policies in much the same way that the CFR has influenced the nation's foreign policies.[1]

Composed of chief executive officers and chairmen from the federal reserve, the banking industry, private equity firms, insurance companies, railroads, information technology firms, publishing companies, pharmaceutical companies, the oil and automotive industries, meat packing companies, retailers and assisted by university economists – representatives from every sector of the economy with the key exception of farmers themselves – CED determined that the problem with American agriculture was that there were too many farmers. But the CED had a “solution”: millions of farmers would just have to be eliminated.

Over the next five years, the political and economic establishment ensured the reduction of “excess human resources engaged in agriculture” by two million, or by 1/3 of their previous number.

Their plan was so effective and so faithfully executed by its operatives in the US government that by 1974 the CED couldn't help but congratulate itself in another agricultural report called “A New US Farm Policy for Changing World Food Needs” for the efficiency of the tactics they employed to drive farmers from their land.[5]

The human cost of CED's plans were exacting and enormous.

CED's plans resulted in widespread social upheaval throughout rural America, ripping apart the fabric of its society destroying its local economies. They also resulted in a massive migration to larger cities. The loss of a farm also means the loss of identity, and many farmers' lives ended in suicide
, not unlike farmers in India today who have been tricked into debt and desperation and can see no other way out.[7]

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