Health Inc.

FDA Faults Food Labels In Warning Blitz

For a while now the Food and Drug Administration has been signaling that it would get tougher on the claims companies make for foods.

Ice cream drumstick. i i

The FDA doesn't want food labels to mislead consumers. Click on the image to see the agency's issue with this drumstick. FDA hide caption

itoggle caption FDA
Ice cream drumstick.

The FDA doesn't want food labels to mislead consumers. Click on the image to see the agency's issue with this drumstick.

FDA

Today, Commissioner Margaret Hamburg showed the industry she means business with a open letter exhorting them to do a better job and highlighting some areas of special concern.

What's her beef? Well, companies should stop misleading consumers by trumpeting a food as free of trans fat—implying that it's a healthy choice—when it also happens to be be high in unhealthy saturated fats. They also shouldn't be making health claims about foods for kids younger than 2 years old or representing that foods can cure or treat a disease.

Exhibit A: Nestle Drumstick Classic Vanilla Fudge, pictured above. The front of the package proclaims "0 g Trans Fat," while the fine print shows 10 grams of saturated fat per serving, or 50 percent of the recommended daily amount. Click on the image to see that information.

To underscore the points, FDA agency also released a slew of warning letters, including one to Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream, a unit of Nestle, about the ice cream drumstick. We e-mailed Dreyer's for comment about the letter it received but didn't hear back right away.

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