In Which Your Gentle Narrator Continues to Stare Into The Abyss

September 8th, 2009  |  Published in Stumpblog  |  10 Comments

Thanks to reader April for this one:

A new food-labeling campaign called Smart Choices, backed by most of the nation’s largest food manufacturers, is “designed to help shoppers easily identify smarter food and beverage choices.” The green checkmark label that is starting to show up on store shelves will appear on hundreds of packages, including — to the surprise of many nutritionists — sugar-laden cereals like Cocoa Krispies and Froot Loops.

“These are horrible choices,” said Walter C. Willett, chairman of the nutrition department of the Harvard School of Public Health…. Dr. Kennedy, who is not paid for her work on the program, defended the products endorsed by the program, including sweet cereals. She said Froot Loops was better than other things parents could choose for their children.

Full story in NYT

Yes, not just “inappropriate” or “unseemly”. Downright horrible. To quote Chief Wiggum, “Nice work, boys.”

And I agree, Froot Loops is better for children than, say, flaming gasoline or a sharp stick in the eye. STOP CRYING OR I’LL GIVE YOU SUMTHIN TO CRY ABOUT!


  1. julie says:

    September 8th, 2009at 11:40 pm(#)

    Why even have this Smart Choices? Funded by the top 10 food producers, to make busy people think their processed crap is not so bad? Even the lame explanation that people don’t want to hear negative things about their food, or feel their choices are being curtailed, is ludicrous and smells of industry whitewashing. I don’t eat much processed food anyway, will likely not come into contact with this label.

    Smoking cigarettes is a much better choice than smoking crack, maybe I should pick up the habit again? Could be worse!

  2. Georgina says:

    September 9th, 2009at 4:09 am(#)

    Two books that might be of interest to you (both written by Felicity Lawrence):

    Not on the Label: What really goes into the food on your plate

    Eat Your Heart Out: Why the food business is bad for the planet and your health

    [In EYHO, the author quotes a study done in the 1970s, in which rats were fed either cereal with added dried fruit, or shredded cardboard boxes with added dried fruit: when tested, the rats fed on the cardboard boxes were the healthiest of the two groups.]

  3. Lisa says:

    September 9th, 2009at 11:04 am(#)

    Kennedy’s example of food that is a worse choice than Froot Loops was… doughnuts! Heads up, Dr. K: THEY ARE BOTH BAD CHOICES.

  4. Elizabeth says:

    September 9th, 2009at 11:28 am(#)

    Yeah, I’m trying to come up with what’s worse than Froot Loops, and I’m drawing a blank on breakfast foods. Hell, a big old greasy-spoon breakfast would probably be better — at least bacon and eggs have protein.

    I guess if you fed your kid, um, that meat-on-meat KFC sandwich for breakfast? Those pasta bread bowls? Pizza rolls smothered in gravy?

  5. neal says:

    September 9th, 2009at 1:59 pm(#)

    If it’s backed by “most of the nation’s largest food manufacturers,” then you can bet it has one thing in mind… and it ain’t the consumer’s health.


  6. Maire says:

    September 9th, 2009at 11:24 pm(#)

    Froot Loops is better than what? A Snickers bar for breakfast? At least the Snickers bar is being honest.

  7. kimmygirl says:

    September 10th, 2009at 10:54 am(#)

    OMG! So, let me get this straight– these companies pay for their big green check mark, fee based on amount of products sold? I am going to look for these in the store with my children, and have a very LOUD teachable moment or two!

  8. lara says:

    September 10th, 2009at 3:59 pm(#)

    Hm – strychnine would be worse than Froot Loops, I suppose…

  9. Lauren says:

    September 11th, 2009at 10:01 am(#)

    I’m not sure if this will help bring you out of the abyss, it’s a fairly small reassurance in the face of people feeding sugar-cardboard-spray-vitamin matrices to children. BUT, I took a flight on wednesday and, nutritionally speaking, the snack didn’t suck. Usually the 7 am shuttle to DC hands you a clammy greasy donut stick but not this time – they gave us a nice little packet of granola with dried fruit. It was only 120 calories, had no high fructose corn syrup OR preservatives in it. Seriously, just oats, sugar, raisins, cranberries and a couple almonds.

  10. Anna says:

    September 15th, 2009at 6:02 am(#)

    Completely unrelated but couldn’t find your email address anymore: any ideas about Codex Alimentarius? Maybe you could write something about it? Please? :)

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