Connecticut state attorney general, Richard Blumenthal, has announced that a controversial food labelling programme, which gave high nutritional marks to Froot Loops cereal, ice cream and mayonnaise, is being dropped by participating food manufacturers.
The Smart Choices logo is found on some products manufactured by General Mills, ConAgra Foods, Kellogg Co, Kraft Foods, PepsiCo, Riviana Foods, Sun-Maid and Unilever.
The programme, which was intended to guide consumers toward healthier food choices, instead drew criticism from state and federal regulators who said the logo could mislead consumers and encourage them to choose highly processed foods over fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
"Food manufacturers rightly recognised our serious concerns about a programme that promotes fat-saturated mayonnaise and sugar-laden cereals as smart," said Blumenthal, who is investigating Smart Choices Program Inc, the logo's developers. "Many in the food and beverage industry have sugarcoated their labels, pushing consumers towards obesity and disease."
The eight participating food manufacturers said they will drop the logo until Blumenthal concludes his investigation, and when the US Food and Drug Administration establishes industry standards for front of package nutritional labelling.
The attorney general has asked the food manufacturers, the programme's developers and its administrators – the American Society for Nutrition and NSF International, a nonprofit group that develops public health standards for food and consumer items – to provide scientific evidence underlying the programme's nutritional standards and selection criteria.
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