Many food police groups believe labels speak louder than words. And they want to raise the volume on obesity hype by slapping warning labels on everything under the bun. From restaurant menus to local co-ops, most food-cop legislation takes aim at foods we enjoy while out on the town. But the most recent campaign by nutrition activists hits closer to home. They are starting to lobby for mandatory stop-light-like warning labels on grocery goods. And in this morning’s USA TODAY, we were ready with a response:
Proponents of "traffic light" food labels claim these labels simplify grocery shopping. But the diet’s in the details ("Good enough to label," Editorial, Sept. 11).
With 45,000 items carried by the average supermarket, it’s unrealistic to expect that all foods will conveniently fit into two categories: the good and the bad.
A similar system developed in the United Kingdom left many people scratching their heads [when] items such as cheese, raisins, honey, peanut butter, yogurt and olive oil [received the red stamp]. This black-or-white assessment fails because food’s value depends on an individual’s needs.
Here in the USA, the "Nutrition Facts" label on packaged goods must show at least 15 nutrients, which allows Americans to tailor their purchases to their unique needs.
This contextual approach to food choices provides consumers with more useful information for long-term health.