Blog: FDA probe leaves Smart Choices smarting
Dean Best | 26 October 2009
Here in the UK, we all know just how detailed - and divisive - the debate on how foods are labelled has become.
Late on Friday, after the UK had packed away for the weekend, came news that a similar debate is heating up on the other side of the Atlantic.
The Smart Choices Program, a set of nutrition labels backed by the likes of Kraft Foods, PepsiCo, ConAgra Foods and Unilever, and launched to much fanfare this summer, has hit a roadblock. And that roadblock comes in the shape of the US Food and Drug Administration.
The FDA is examining the nutrition claims made on labels under Smart Choices amid concerns that the labels were being slapped on foods with high amounts of sugar - and on foods with up to 80% of a consumer's recommended daily intake of fat.
And, on Friday, came news that Smart Choices had "voluntarily" decided to stop rolling out the labels while the US regulators investigate.
The halt to Smart Choices merely adds to the consumer confusion around the labels on the foods they buy. The UK debate over traffic lights or GDAs is nothing compared to the amount of different labels developed in the US.
In the last couple of years, retailers like Hannaford and Supervalu Inc have launched their own separate labelling schemes. Then there is the NuVal scoring system used by grocers like Price Chopper and Hy-Vee.
Some consumer advocates have long argued for a mandatory, nationwide system to come into force in the US. The obstacles to such a scheme, given competitive interests, are manifold.
However, with Smart Choices smarting amid an FDA probe, calls for a unified system are likely to continue to grow.
Danone completed its US$12.5bn acquisition of WhiteWave Foods this week. The move will roughly double Danone's presence in North America, where WhiteWave is a top four dairy player. ...
Premier Foods plc revealed today (28 March) it has secured a deal with its pension scheme trustees that will see the UK food maker reduce its pension burden....
Hain Celestial, under the scrutiny of the investment community in recent months and facing some challenges in its domestic market, has announced another shuffling of its management pack....
FrieslandCampina, which today served up higher profits but lower sales for 2016, is ready to offload the last non-dairy business owned by the Dutch cooperative giant....
- Analysis: Post discusses rationale for Weetabix
- Interview: Sir Kensington's on sale to Unilever
- Who will buy Danone's Stonyfield business?
- Column: Why snacking is the new meal
- US food next wave on display at Winter Fancy Food
- Unilever buys US condiments maker Sir Kensington's
- Ice cream helps Unilever sales, food flat
- Nestle organic growth slows but beats expectations
- Suntory to offload Australia, New Zealand foods
- Post: Weetabix "opens up M&A opportunities"