When nutrition facts became mandatory on packaged foods in 1993, interested consumers could, for the first time, learn how many calories and nutrients were in their foods. Popular, readable, and consumer friendly, nutrition facts labels earned its designer an award for design excellence from President Bill Clinton. Ingredients list, however, were left behind by the nutrition-labeling law. And as useful as nutrition facts labels are, it's increasingly difficult for the truth on the fine print to compete with the omissions, obfuscations, or in some cases, outright falsifications on the fronts of food packages.
Labels should be clear, honest, and informative -- and reading one shouldn't require the skills of an NSA code-breaker. But too often, companies try to trick people into buying foods that aren't as healthy as the labels pretend.
Help may be on the way, however, in the form of important legislation introduced by Representatives Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT). Their Food Labeling Modernization Act would solve some of the biggest problems with food labels today. It would be a congressional kick in the pants to an agency that probably could be dealing with many of these issues now, but isn't. What follows are some particularly egregious examples of bad labeling that investigators from the Center for Science in the Public Interest found on recent shopping trips.
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