Parents shouldn’t look to the labels on the front of food package for guidance on picking the healthiest products for their kids. Claiming Health: Front-of-Package Labeling of Children's Food looked at packages with front of package labeling--symbols that identify healthier products--and found that 84% of products studied didn’t meet basic nutritional standards.
The study looked at the front-of-package labeling on fifty-eight "Better-for-You" children's products. The nutritional content was compared against nutritional criteria derived from the US Dietary Guidelines and the National Academies of Science. In spite of the claims on the labels, study findings reveal:
- More than half (57%) of the study products qualified as high sugar; 95% of products contained added sugar
- More than half (53%) were low in fiber.
- More than half (53%) of products did not contain any fruits or vegetables; of the fruits and vegetables found, half came from just 2 ingredients - tomatoes and corn.
- 24% of prepared foods were high in saturated fats.
- More than 1/3 (36%) of prepared foods & meals were high in sodium
- 21% contained artificial coloring.-additives with potentially harmful health impacts, while offering no benefits whatsoever
Claiming Health underscores that the current system—which counts on food companies to decide what information they include on their front-of-package labels—is broken. Without FDA regulation, instead of giving more information to parents struggling to make the best decisions for their kids, the system is deceiving them.
The food industry can--and should--do better.
If you are a member of the press, we invite you to view our Claiming Health Press Kit.