Monday, September 21, 2009

Faulty Choices

Huge news per! I signed this petition, and it looks like it actually made a difference!

Victory: Members Force Health Organizations to Back Away from Food Labeling Ploy

Hey Changemakers,

This week thousands of members took on the food industry's new marketing scheme to persuade customers to buy more highly processed foods - and won a major victory.

The new marketing program, called "Smart Choices," is a front-of-the-package nutrition-labeling program designed in theory to help shoppers make smarter food choices.

But as the New York Times exposed last week, the selections are anything but healthy. One of the selections is Froot Loops, which was chosen, according to one board member, because "it's better for you than donuts." (No, we're not kidding. We couldn't make this up.)

Despite the program's dubious standards, it maintained the appearance of legitimacy because researchers associated with three reputable organizations - American Diabetes Association, American Dietetic Association, and Tufts University - were on its board.

In response, thousands of members sent letters to the presidents of these three major research institutions urging them to remove their name from the program.

The result? All three organizations responded to the pressure this week by publicly distancing themselves from the food labeling scheme and officially asking Smart Choices to remove their name from its website and marketing materials - thereby publicly embarrassing and discrediting the program.

Mark this as a victory for consumer advocacy on the web. If anyone still questioned whether the Smart Choices program had any legitimacy, they now have their answer. And if food companies had any question about whether they'd be able to introduce a new marketing program to sell more unhealthy foods without repercussion, they now know there are thousands of consumers who will be watching.

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