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The Los Angeles Times continues the criticism of the “Smart Choices” nutritional labeling program, noting that while “sponsors say the logo will help an overweight and overwhelmed public make better food choices in a way that reflects how people really shop,” there re critics who say that “Smart Choices won't help end confusion because its nutrition standards are far too lenient. They see the program as an attempt by food companies to bill less-than-stellar processed foods as nutritious. They are especially steamed by the breakfast cereal category because so many sugary cereals got a stamp of approval.”

The criticisms, which started getting a highly visible airing a few weeks ago in a New York Times piece, apparently is starting to bear fruit.

The LA Times reports this morning that “a congresswoman has asked the Food and Drug Administration to investigate whether products have been ‘misbranded’.”

In addition, the Times writes, “the American Dietetic Assn., American Diabetes Assn. and Tufts University's school of nutrition, each of which has members on the Smart Choices board, have asked Smart Choices to remove the institutions' names from the Web page listing board members. Though the individuals are involved in the program, the institutions are not, said spokesmen for each. ”
KC's View:
The program may be about Smart Choices, but the sponsors may have overreached in their efforts…and engaged in some not-so-smart marketing. The program just looks too compromised…and the straw that broke the camel’s back seems to be Froot Loops, a sugary cereal carrying a Smart Choices logo that has singlehandedly irritated nutritionists to the point of public carping.

There are ten manufacturers involved in Smart Choices and some 2,000 products carrying the label, a number expected to double fairly quickly. If I were those manufacturers, I’d start to look very carefully at all the products being put up for the Smart Choices label, and think about whether I’m doing the concept more harm than good.