General Mills and Kellogg’s want to sell sugary processed foods like Froot Loops and Lucky Charms to your kids. This isn’t anything new. But under the guise of the new “Smart Choices” Program, large food corporations want to proudly label sugary, highly processed foods as good nutritional food options.
The program was recently created by a conglomerate of conglomerates, including ConAgra Foods, Kellogg’s, Kraft Foods, Pepsico, Tyson Foods, and Unilever. The participating companies list all their products that “meet a comprehensive set of nutrition criteria based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and other sources of nutrition science and authoritative dietary guidance”. You can review the Smart Choices website for yourself.
While there are some admirable ideas in the program, such as honest, transparent labeling and encouraging healthy eating options, one has to question the wisdom of any program that is able to recommend Foot Loops, Lucky Charms, and Frosted Flakes as healthy eating options. And Wheat Thins, Teddy Grahams, and Fudgsicles are probably not the healthiest snacking/dessert ideas out there, but according to the “Smart Choices” program they are.
In an age when the obesity problem in America has reached epic proportions, making smart food choices is a key to a healthy living. But with childhood obesity, early onset diabetes, and the myriad other health problems caused by over-consumption of highly processed and sugar laden foods, labeling the aforementioned products as “Smart Choices” is at the very least misleading and irresponsible, and representative of greenwashing at its worst.
Organizations like Food Democracy Now! have railed against the Smart Choices Program and have started a letter writing campaign to end this misleading labeling practice. You can sign a letter to be delivered to the USDA and FDA here.